New school will require a four-way intersection

In regard to pedestrians accessing the new Kihei high school (The Maui News, June 8), a four-way lighted intersection is absolutely necessary. I also support the addition of an underpass, but it should not be a condition that would slow the opening of the school.

Watching this project unfold over the years, it is clear that the Department of Education has planned for a four-way lighted intersection with crosswalks at the Piilani Highway-Kulanihakoi Street intersection. This is illustrated in the environmental impact statement’s “Traffic Signal Warrant Study.” The DOE has presented the conceptual plan in numerous hearings with state and county officials. An appropriation for $500,000 for the intersection design was secured in the most recent legislative session.

I agree that both bordering gulches are good candidates for an underpass and much preferred to an overhead walkway. However, building the underpass would require extensive environmental and other regulatory approvals, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an EIS and a special management area permit. Also, a large number of stakeholders, including four or more different landowners, community groups and neighbors. Another major challenge is access. The gulches lead to nowhere. There is currently no north-south collector road or connecting street where pedestrians could access the underpass.

A proper intersection needs to be built in a timely manner, regardless of what is eventually done with an underpass. The underpass agenda is important, but please do not let it derail the efforts to open this long-awaited school.

Andrew Beerer


Kihei High School Action Team