Maui News

Sign Waving Demonstration Seeks Safety First for Future Kīhei High School Students

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Waipuilani Gulch. PC: Kīhei Community Association

A community rally for keiki safety takes place this afternoon near the site of the future Kīhei High School. The sign-waving event is being organized to raise awareness and support for a pedestrian underpass for Kīhei High School at Waipuilani Gulch.

“August is pedestrian safety month and it is critical that we give students the safest crossing option, NOT to cross Piʻilani Highway,” according to Andrew Beerer, a resident who is advocating for an underpass. “Not only is this safer, but keeping hundreds of students from crossing the highway twice-a-day is imperative to not crippling our already traffic-ridden intersections.”

Beerer said a pedestrian underpass is best for mauka/makai access, to keep kids off the highway. “We also need a robust pedestrian plan that would include lateral sidewalks parallel to the highway , but separated from traffic. And we need the County to work quicker on building the North South Collector Road (Līlioa),” he wrote in a message to Maui Now.

Buck Joiner. PC: Kīhei Community Association.

The item surfaces for discussion before the Land Use Commission on Aug. 25. 2021. Demonstrators say the crux of the issue is the grade separated crossing, going mauka to makai, which could be either an overpass or an underpass. The group is advocating for an underpass saying, “pedestrian overpasses are not used and you end up with students running across the highway instead,” according to a Kīhei Community Association post by Rob Weltman.

Mike Moran, Kīhei Community Association President, wrote a letter to the Land Use Commission last week saying a 2015 traffic study contains “misinformation and misguided assumptions suggesting low estimates of student pedestrians.”

The KCA is requesting that the LUC mandate the Department of Education to provide an accurate GSPC Feasibility Study and updated Traffic Studies. According to the KCA, “the DOE-commissioned traffic study only measures pedestrian students coming from a half-mile radius, whereas the DOE bussing policy reads: students in Grades 6-12 must reside 1.5 miles or more, from the school within their attendance area to qualify for regular bus service.”

Andrew Beerer and State Rep Tina Wildberger. PC: Kīhei Community Association.

Today’s sign waving demonstration runs from 2 to 4 p.m.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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