Ask the Mayor: Synchronizing Traffic Lights on Ka’ahumanu

January 10, 2014, 2:53 PM HST · Updated January 13, 10:56 AM
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The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

Kaahumanu Avenue single lane closure, photo by Wendy Osher.

Ka`ahumanu Avenue. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Q: Why doesn’t Maui have synchronized traffic lights? I have traveled off-island to the mainland many times and have noticed synchronized traffic lights on main roads.

Ka‘ahumanu Avenue is a perfect example: We all know it’s virtually impossible to drive from Maui Mall into Wailuku with all green lights. There might be a reason as to why traffic lights are not synchronized. I feel that if traffic was pushed down the main road smoothly, the side streets can catch up. Also, lights can be synchronized so that drivers speeding ahead will hit a red light.

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I also think there are a few traffic lights Upcountry that are dangerous because sudden red lights cause drivers to slam on their brakes while traveling down very steep hills. Let’s face it: There are large vehicles and/or cars with bad brakes that may not be able to stop in time, thereby causing an accident.

A: The roads with lights that are synchronized are state highways. Our only county road that may qualify in this regard is South Kihei Road, as we have a design project almost finished to address the synchronization of the three traffic signals near Azeka’s. Ka‘ahumanu Avenue is a state-controlled road, and its traffic signals are synchronized.

From my own experience, they work pretty well if traffic is not too heavy. However, with either Kamehameha or Wakea avenues partially closed for construction, more cars are shifted onto Ka‘ahumanu. In the mornings, Ka’ahumanu is synchronized traveling toward Wailuku, and in the opposite direction in the afternoon. To my knowledge, the only intersection that is not part of this is Kahului Beach Road, which empties a lot of traffic onto Ka‘ahumanu. Streets can only be synchronized in one direction.

Q: Isn’t there something that can be done about the littering of phone books in our communities? It’s bad enough when they’re left in piles around mailboxes, but I live in a rural area and someone just threw the books out in the rain, at the end of three different roads. Good luck trying to get a hold of yellowbook.com. I guess they don’t care that the people they hire aren’t doing their job. Meanwhile, someone else cleans up the mess.

A: You may “opt out” of phone book delivery by registering at www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. Paradise Pages, 1-(800)489-8230, sponsors free phone book recycling on Maui for all phone books in conjunction with Royal Hawaiian Movers. A phone book recycling bin is located outside the company’s entrance, at 400 Hana Highway in Kahului. Hawaiian Telcom also sponsors a free phone book recycling event just for Hawaiian Telcom books after the new edition is delivered in April/May. This four-week event is usually conducted through a contract with Aloha Recycling, 871-8544. Aloha Recycling, located at 75 Amala Street in Kahului, accepts all phone books year-‘round. In general, our County Recycling Section tells me that phone books are difficult to recycle because the paper is low-grade and most of the weight comes from the ink. As such, we are fortunate to be able to recycle them here.

Q: What’s going on with no streetlights along Makawao Avenue after Third Friday parties? I usually walk home afterward because I live close by and had to use the light from my cell phone to see because it was so dark. Are all the lights out for some reason and if so, what is being done to replace them?

A: Since Maui Electric Co. is in charge of maintaining streetlights, please contact MECO at 871-777 to notify them when you notice an outage. Thank you for helping keep our streets safe at night for pedestrians, motorists and others who use the roadways at night.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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