Design of Piilani roundabout near new school troubling

Like myself, clearly someone in highway engineering has visited the U.K. and been impressed with how traffic flows through roundabouts.

Not so obvious are the on-demand, pedestrian-only traffic lights (almost always green) set on each approach 50 to 100 yards from the intersection that are designed to keep pedestrians away from the roundabout. These are for pedestrian safety and to keep the traffic flowing.

The roundabout on Piilani Highway near the new Kihei high school (Jan. 15) is troubling. Though the labels are illegible, it appears that there are three pedestrian crosswalks right at the edge of the roundabout. A prior article stated that the state believed that pedestrians would be clearly visible, and therefore safe.

This is crazy fantasy. If that roundabout goes in as I believe it is designed, the children will be at great risk. If on-demand lighted crosswalks are inserted, either at the roundabout or distanced from it, it will paralyze morning rush-hour traffic beyond imagination. So will decreasing the approach speed limit to 20 mph.

The roundabout may be very useful in alleviating vehicular congestion at rush hour (reference King Kekaulike HS). As designed, it is a real danger to kids walking to school. They need a grade-separated crossing! And, please not in a dry riverbed! (There is a flash flood watch tonight.)

Richard Thompson



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