I have submitted written testimony to OMPO regarding ORTP priorities for projects on our coast. These are road work projects, such as adding an extra lane on Farrington Hwy. You can submit your own testimony as well! Their next meeting is April 13th, so please submit by March 28th for it to be included! You can submit directly via the website, or by following the instructions at the bottom of this post. Here is my testimony, which you can use as a model:
Aloha Oahu MPO:
Several ORTP projects fall within State Senate District 21(Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Waianae Coast):
— Road-widening from Kalaeloa to Hakimo Road (Project 54/351);
— Waianae by-pass road (Project 708);
— multiple safety improvements (Project 51); and
— Farrington Hwy. realignment at Makaha Surfing Beach (Project 50).
I want to express my support for these as well as any and all projects that further motorist and pedestrian safety, ease traffic congestion, improve commutes for residents, bring better road infrastructure, and increase transportation access for the Leeward coast in general.
As you know, Farrington Hwy. is the only access for residents of Makaha, Waianae, Maili, Nanakuli, Ko Olina, and Honokai Hale. With only two lanes in each direction, even minor issues like a stalled vehicle can create hours of traffic backlog, adding to an already brutal commute. Subsequently, with our ever worsening traffic problems, residents are pleading for fruition of an alternate route or by-pass road, highway widening, and other traffic improvements to be moved forward on the timeline of ORTP projects. I would like to urge the Board to consider this edit in their upcoming review.
Specifically, I ask that you consider the Kalaeloa to Hakimo Road widening (Project 54/351) on the draft ORTP 2040 be changed from the “Long-Range Projects” to the “Short-Range Projects” list. It is imperative that planning, design and construction work begin on this project immediately, due to resident concerns and the horrendous traffic encountered on a daily basis, at all hours. My understanding is that DOT is also urging OMPO to bump up Project 54/351 as an extension of their current turn lane project in Nanakuli.
I woud also like to see Project 50 (included on the Table 3: project list for “Short-Range Projects” or “Mid-Range Projects”) adjusted in level of priority on the ORTP 2040 and NOT listed under the series 700 “Illustrative Projects” which have no potential for funding. As recently covered on TV news, erosion continues to pose a serious safety threat at Makaha Surfing Beach. Moving the highway further mauka could vastly improve safety. (See: http://m.hawaiinewsnow.com/hawaiinewsnow/db_349774/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=56Z77jOG)
While one geographic area should not have higher priority solely because of traffic, I would like to point out that nearly every other community on Oahu has some sort of an alternate access route. The Waianae coast is lacking that completely. (Note: Kole Kole Pass and the Waianae Coast Emergency Access Road offer only very limited emergency access).
I would like to thank OMPO for all of your hard work, and for taking the time to hear my testimony. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above phone and email.
Senator Maile Shimabukuro
Submit comments to the website (above), by emailing OahuMPO (OahuMPO@OahuMPO.org); by fax at (808) 587-2018; or by mailing written comments to:
707 Richards Street, Suite 200
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
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