Letters — Crosswalk and intersection improvements to Post Office Road and Pahoa Bypass appropriated in 2013

120px-Brunei_road_sign_-_School_Crossing_Patrol.svg(Editor’s note: Following is an open letter to Sen. Russell Ruderman and members of the media.)

Dear Russell, others:

There was another accident at the HAAS school / Post Office road intersection last week. Still figuring how to help the community with the crosswalk problem. I was wondering if you could tell me what pages the Post Office road improvement appropriations are on in the 2013 HB200 State Budget. I saw it when I searched keyword, but archived bill is not searchable, and it’s almost 400 pages. I can’t believe with the technology available today it’s like that.

Anyone who has been cc’d in this email is welcome to join in the solving of this problem. Haven’t met again with Steve Hirakami, but will soon. I had talked to him a couple weeks ago, and he did not know that you (Russell) had met with the DOT and they are not going to build a HAAS School intersection with stop-light because of the lava threat.

Russell, you do know that Hawaii County Civil Defense formally evacuated the Pahoa Village Center on or around October 27, 2014? Warnings were posted on buildings and handed out to tenants. HAAS school had 2 classrooms there, evacuated and incurred expenses. Later on the word out was an “inexperienced CERT” person passed out the evacuation notices, but that was way after the fact, no apologies or offers of monetary reimbursement.

Fast forward to Malama Market, with Civil Defense “going to pull the plug in 5 days”, it was indicated the businesses there (and Woodland Center) might as well get a head-start on packing. HAAS had one classroom at Malama which evacuated, again at the expense of the students.

HAAS Charter School wants and needs to expand due to the three additional classes coming home from evacuation (and for planned growth) but the County of Hawaii won’t let them do anything until there is a decent intersection on the state controlled by-pass.

If the DOT refuses to do the work, can we as a community take them to court because they (DOT) have created and maintain a dangerous situation blasting 45 mph speeding during school hours? Is there any other school in the state of Hawaii without crosswalks and 20-25 mph speed limits? Should the community just give up on the State and paint the crosswalks themselves? Even if we do, that won’t help with the expansion of HAAS School because the community can not widen the road and install stop lights.

Please, can any of you elected or appointed officials do anything to help the DOT do their job? They have the money. The Keaau merge is about pau. I would hope that children and school are important issues to all here addressed, especially the DOT.

Most Sincerely,

Sara Steiner

19 replies
  1. R Dean
    R Dean says:

    No money for education safety. What a shocker. No worry
    mate, the $22M park is just around the corner in spite of
    the lava. Thanks PDCP.

  2. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    To R Dean,
    It’s not that organization that tried to plan the park it’s the County of Hawaii who has determined that it’s just going to be fine to keep spending the money since They spent most of it already and it looks like they are removing material which is getting dumped at’ and other placeswhich then perhaps get sold back to the people of Pahoa. That part was supposed to be for all of lower puna and not everyone wanted it right in Pahoa town so I’m wanted it more towards Keaau since it’s for the people up to volcano also. The way it looks now it’s just going to be a nice big berm protecting our Pahoa Village.

  3. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    PO Rd is a County road and you will find it in the County CIP budget and not the State budget – although the intersection would be State.

    Pahoa Marketplace tenants never received an order to evacuate – what they got was a notice to be prepared to evacuate. There’s a difference. If the urgent care clinic had been told to evacuate we would have been able to terminate our lease and not have to pay double rent.

    It took 6 years of lobbying to get DOT to put a school crossing sign on Hwy 130 by Pahoa HS. They will cave in to pressure, but it has to be applied strongly and regularly, with a lot of media attention.Our kids do need that protection. mahalo for raising the issue.

  4. punated
    punated says:

    This is about State Highway 130, so it is DoT that is in charge. The first suggestions were to put a 4-way stop light at the Kahakai intersection with 130 and it was the DoT that decided what was needed was a roundabout on the wrong intersection. The DoT reason was stop lights have proven they just become another source for high speed T-bone injury wrecks and roundabouts slow traffic down with minor fender bender wrecks. Something does need to be done about the troubled intersections and putting it off until the June 27 flow is officially declared dormant might be a long wait. DoT doesn’t want to spend money on a roundabout that may be covered by lava in the near future. A 4-way traffic light will cost a lot less, and the troubled T-bone intersection could be blocked off, people using the finished Kahakai-Hwy130 intersection for entrance to Pahoa village and exit to Hilo. This is something to petition for in comparison to all the other silly petitions that come out of south Puna.

  5. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Sorry, I didn’t review my previous post, Siri said “I’m wanted the park more towards Keaau”. I meant some of the other participants I have spoken to had wanted the park more centrally located since it is for all Puna from Volcano to Pahoa.

  6. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    It took us 6 years to get DOT to put a school x-ing sign by Pahoa High on Hwy 130. Our kids deserve the same protections as students on the rest of the island. What finally did the trick for us was (1) the accrued number of accidents at the intersection, (2) the “threat” that we would make and install our own sign, and (3) years of persistence wearing down DOT’s resistance. I suggest you contact Sen. Ruderman and Rep. San Buenaventura to help you lobby DOT. And a petition wouldn’t hurt either, to show community support for a traffic light.

  7. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    The magic of proofreading.
    It is another way to model good writing for our students,
    along with spell check, a 30 second effort.
    If language skills are not important to the adults
    who advocate for children,
    why should young people care?

  8. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    I will be a better editor.
    Sorry, Sarah.
    I totally support public awareness of the need for a crosswalk at the intersection of Post Office Road and Highway 130. I also support yellow flashing lights approaching Post Office Road, indicating the need to slow down and look for women and children crossing the road (insert international traffic sign here)…
    There is a school located on Post Office Road and many children cross that road, if not in the morning, in the afternoon. They are the modern latchkey kids who make their way to Pahoa Village to get their afternoon snacks at 7-Eleven before catching the bus to another community. Their parents got them in to HAAS, because it’s reputed to be such a good school, and they rely on our lousy public transportation and infrastructure to get their children home. I pray that those kids making their way to the village will opt to ride one of the HAAS vans instead of walking. When they cross the highway, they make a run for it. As someone who knows the inner workings of politics, I realize it is going to take a lot of letters like Sarah’s to get anyone to understand that there really are people’s children trying to beat cars driving 45-50 mph past their school… I am usually a pedant, but I don’t care really about one sentence being off kilter. I understand the message loud and clear. I see and experience the problem every single day. It’s my kid’s school. One day she’ll be trying to make her way to the village. Now I pick her up. No left turn pocket. No flashing yellow lights. No indication of a school.
    Are you reading this, Ed Sniffen? Sal Panem? Do I really need to write my local reps? Let’s get real here, guys. This is the real issue, not the f-g roundabouts that never will be.

  9. Pikake
    Pikake says:

    I don’t see why a school should be placed next to a highway and think that alternate locations should be sought. It’s the only. We keep wanting to clog our main arteries. It makes no sense.

  10. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    HAAS is not a new school. It’s at least 14 years old… It’s certainly older than Woodland Center down the street, and talk about clogging our main arteries! Wow! I don’t think anyone is suggesting shutting down Woodland Center to fix the intersection of Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road. Let’s not suggest equally outlandish measures at the intersection of Highway 130 and Post Office Road…

  11. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    What about the blimp…or an elevated cable car…or an underground pneumatic capsule (yes, I used ‘spellcheck’),
    or a temporary bridge…just kidding.
    I’d ask the senior students at HAAS for their ideas, but clearly the cheapest, quickest solution is what Sara and Tiffany advocate, lower posted speed and lights,
    despite lava threat.
    I hope our Senator takes continued action.
    Thanks in advance, Russell!

  12. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Russell is out of town right now. I have sent another letter to Mr. Sniffin, with copies to many of our legislators. We shall see what we shall see.

    There are public and private schools located on many of our major roads, Pikake, I’m not sure what you are insinuating?

    We have clogging on our main artery because the state and county only gives us one artery.

    I think notices there was money budgeted this year for a feasibility study of a road from lower Nanawale to Hilo (Mr. Illagen’s office sponsored I think). Maybe something will come of that…

  13. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    Sorry my grammar and spelling may not always be perfect, but I think and hope y’all know what I mean!

    Sara xox

  14. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Hey Sara, did you understand Pikake’s statement;
    “It’s the only.”?
    Writers can adopt a commitment to writing well.
    Perfection isn’t the necessary goal.
    But proof reading and spell check are quick and easy
    ways toward better literacy.
    If one wants that.
    Otherways be nutted complxion inverse undies

  15. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    And to Tiffany -Your comment, “I also support yellow flashing lights approaching Post Office Road, indicating the need to slow down and look for women and children crossing the road (insert international traffic sign here)…”
    is problematic. I’m guessing you know what I mean, without me spelling it out. Or, as I spell it out, do you really think that men are less valuable than women and children?
    Or that all men are so sufficiently more agile that they don’t need a flashing yellow light to protect them?

  16. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    LOL… yeah, men can dart faster across the road… no, I’m kidding, Kelly. When I wrote out my comment, I was envisioning the “international traffic sign” that I have seen in various countries… I did an internet search, found a depiction of the sign and inserted it above. It’s actually probably not supposed to be a woman but a young girl holding a little boy’s hand… who knows, but the point is, we need signage and yellow flashing lights if not a crosswalk. As for the main artery comment, I’m just thinking about Chiefess Kapiolani School and Waiakeaweana Eementary School, Hilo Union, etc., as you drive by these schools situated on main arteries of Hilo, you have every indication that you are passing by a school. We have no such indication on Highway 130 near Post Office Road. I have a serious problem with that.

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