New Initiative Aims to Promote Safety on Maui Streets
The intersection of Oneheʻe Avenue and ʻUhu Street just got a makeover, and the county is hoping the improvements will inspire safety.
“It cost a few dollars more, but when you talk about safety and well being, and the health of our community, itʻs well worth it,” Mayor Michael Victorino said during a proclamation for the new Vision Zero Project at the intersection this morning.
The initiative is a joint effort between county officials and community partners to eliminate pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities on Maui streets by the year 2040.
According to Maui police, 17 people died in traffic fatalities on Maui this year. Eleven of those fatalities involved drivers who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Itʻs getting to be too much,” Victorino said.
Danny Miyasato has been living on Oneheʻe Avenue across Kahului Community Park for 16 years. Miyasato says for the most part, he enjoys his neighborhood.
But thereʻs one thing he doesnʻt like.
“I travel on this road, I come out everyday, and I seen how fast cars are speeding,” Miyasato said during the event.
“Hopefully this new project will slow traffic down.”
One of the new additions to the intersection is marked crosswalks, something Blue Zones Project community program manager Laks Abraham said is a simple fix that goes a long way.
“If you had saw this intersection beforehand, there was nothing here except an old, faint crosswalk that you could barely see, and actually they only had one area for crossing,” Abraham said.
“Weʻre trying to create a safe space for everyone.”
Another addition are a few pieces of street art on the corners of the intersection called bulb-outs, which are meant to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians.
“The shorter we make the crossing distance, the safer it is. For the cars, it actually closes the space so they have to slow down as they approach the intersection,” Abraham explained.
While the goal of the project is to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2040, the mayor says he hopes to achieve that much sooner.
“Iʻd like to move it up to 2030, Iʻd like to make sure that we are doing the right things as we fix up our streets, as we rehabilitate our streets, as we add new streets, that we do it right from the get go,” Victorino asserted.
In the meantime, Miyasato has a message for drivers.
“Please slow down and be aware,” Miyasato urged.
The Oneheʻe and ʻUhu intersection is a pilot demonstration. Project leaders hope to expand these improvements in the future.