Council approves traffic calming bill

LIHU‘E — A bill clarifying and outlining the county’s Department of Public Works and Kaua‘i County Council’s roles in determining measures to slow down traffic has passed through the legislative body.

Bill No. 2824, which was introduced by Councilmember Billy DeCosta in June at the request of the administration, passed unanimously Wednesday and awaits Mayor Derek Kawakami’s signature before becoming law.

The bill modifies the existing speed hump ordinance, creating a more comprehensive “traffic calming” ordinance, which refers to the physical means of slowing down vehicle traffic, including speed bumps, speed tables, lateral shifts, narrowing lanes or roundabouts.

Prior to this bill, the county ordinance really only gave the county the authority to place speed humps on local residential streets.

The bill also removes some of the council’s approval in establishing certain measures.

The department will be able to temporarily install certain measures, like speed humps, without council’s vote. The temporary installation would only be allowed for two years, unless the department seeks council approval.

“So, you (the council) still set the regulations, and you still determine when there would be a traffic calming measure or roundabout like that, but we would then, in Public Works, determine once those are approved, install those items, how are we going to sign and mark those, are we going to put in warning signs for the speed hump?” DPW Chief Engineer Michael Moule said in a June meeting.

Once signed into law, the public will be able to request speed humps for a $50 fee, instead of past practices that required a petition with 75% of residents within a 500-foot radius from the location of the proposed speed hump area signing in support before the county would perform a study on the area to determine feasibility.

“We think that some fee is important, we simply made it relatively low so it is affordable, but high enough that we do not get the ‘shotgun’ approach of someone requesting speed humps on every single traffic zone or every street and thereby overloading our ability to do the studies that are required in this proposed bill,” Moule said.

The department will continue to perform speed or traffic studies at the request of a resident. The difference is asking specifically for a traffic calming measure, which would require the fee and subsequent study to determine if a permanent structure is appropriate.

“I appreciate the temporary installation of traffic calming measures,” Councilmember Felicia Cowden said in June. “A lot of times, it is a now-not-later, is what we need. I also appreciate the application process with the $50 fee in that there is a very definitive request at that point, so it is measurable and it has that modest amount of money that demonstrates intent.”

When determining a traffic calming measure is warranted, the county will send a notification to at least 75% of landowners in the 500-foot radius from the location, as well existing community or neighborhood associations within 30 days.

An engineering study will be required to document safety and traffic concerns in the area to determine the appropriate mitigation efforts.

“I just wanted to add more on having to be involved in this whole transformation from the walkable, bikeable, and connected community, this whole discussion is based on safety-I totally support this discussion,” Councilmember Bernard Carvalho said in June.

  1. RGLadder37 August 5, 2021 2:05 am Reply

    This sounds good. I’ll put my 2 cents in also. I think discussions like this is what makes the county tick. Let’s see what they come up with.

  2. nothings free August 5, 2021 5:24 am Reply

    Is there no end to overzealous, overpaid “Government” bureaucrats staying awake nights trying to figure out how they can micromanage our supposedly “free” citizens in a “free” Country? Do these Politicians (usually failures in real life) actually get physically aroused every time they can come up with something to make themselves feel like they’re accomplishing something, even if it’s a stupid idea? Of course traffic laws and social circumstances have to be overseen by a benevolent and “freedom loving” Government. That’s been the framework for decades and why we have safe streets, traffic laws, speed laws, and police enforcement! What the hell else do we need? SPEED BUMPS EVERYWHERE SO POLITICIANS CAN FEEL PROUD ABOUT ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING, which is actually NOTHING? We already have speeding laws! Get your police officers off their butts and start giving tickets to violators! It will raise revenue and perhaps allow the rather dumb “Politicians” around us to lay awake nights trying to figure out how to lower all of our taxes, fees, and other stupid blood sucking money confiscation schemes they’ve gorged themselves with for much too long. Our liberal, Democrat Kauai Society is in a circuitous loop of naïve Politicians trying to figure out how to control and suck more money from the hard working dopes who keep putting them back in office. This “sheeple” mind set is not going to end well for Kauai, or our Country! God help our children!

    1. Rev Dr Malama August 6, 2021 10:08 am Reply

      Perhaps a letter/testimony at the Council meeting is in order?
      Your frustration is shared by the majority of people who travel on Kauai rides for work and pleasure…. still the county has not listened nor fixed the dangers inherent in ANTIQUATED infrastructure and safety measures.
      Business as usual for the hardworking people who pay taxes….. and we wonder if we are going to be able to survive another day of this government failure.

  3. Sp August 5, 2021 7:13 am Reply

    How about a roundabout at the highway side of the tree tunnel? The turning lane fills up and it backs up traffic all the way to Puhi.

  4. Rev Dr Malama August 5, 2021 7:46 am Reply

    Please paint the existing speed bumps and post signs or signals that alert travelers to all traffic control devices. The county has a hard time just maintaining the little deterrents that are on our roads and we never see police between Walmart and Kauai Community COLLEGE where the majority of speeding occurs.

  5. betty bohl August 5, 2021 8:03 am Reply

    Get a clue council members and DPW people. Speed bumps, lateral shifts, and lane narrowing do NOT make a community more Bikeable. All of these are a major hazard to bike riders.

  6. MisterM August 5, 2021 9:30 am Reply

    Traffic calming is needed in places, but there is an epidemic of ridiculously-low speed limits all over this island that nobody pays any attention to. The highway section between Rice and Puhi is 35mph – it’s easily safe enough for 45-50mph – it’s the best stretch of pavement on the island but has lower limits than typically-narrow asphalt highways? The low speed limits, coupled with badly-timed signals causes extended delays and needless frustration. Cross traffic gets inordinately long green lights – often no traffic while the highway backs up waiting for the signal to change.

    And let’s not talk about the disaster near Coco Palms…

    Engineering needs to wake up.

  7. TomK August 5, 2021 11:40 am Reply

    Does the measure include a limit on how many – and how close – these privately funded speed bumps can be? This could get out of control very quickly. And make driving just plain annoying (not safer) for everyone.

  8. Joe Public August 5, 2021 11:57 am Reply

    Enough with these roundabouts, the mess they did on rice street should be evident enough.

    Get rid of Moule and find someone with better ideas. The one they did on Hardy is laughable, always overgrown and has to be maintained on weekends. fill it with gravel so COK wont have to hire more on tax payers dime.

  9. hutch August 5, 2021 9:28 pm Reply

    I’m against any ‘speed humps’ as referenced in your article. A hump should never be speedy.

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