Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Human sacrifice practiced in Honolulu

I was amazed to hear our state Department of Transportation testify at the legislature that they need a million bucks and two more years to conduct a study of dangerous intersections before doing anything about them. See the Star-Bulletin article Crosswalk probe may last till '08, state says:
A proposal to study intersections and determine where crossing times are insufficient for elderly and disabled pedestrians would cost about $1 million and likely would not be ready until the end of 2008, state officials said.

With six pedestrian fatalities already this year, supporters of the proposal say that is too long.

"We should not accept that," said Larry Geller, president of the Kokua Council citizens advocacy group.
Yup, that's me. I actually said a lot more than that.

No one should accept that people will continue to be killed while the DOT twiddles its thumbs and waits for an expensive consultants report. Just what do they do each day at work? Why don't they adjust the lights that AARP found to be dangerous in their May 2006 survey, which involved 50 intersections statewide? Another question: what have they been doing all these years, and why did it take the AARP to identify the danger in these intersections? (And many thanks to the AARP and its army of volunteers for doing this.)

I was dismayed that while others in the room seemed to have many suggestions, the DOT only explained why they couldn't adjust the lights.

How about firing those guys and put people on the job who can contribute to the solution instead of the problem? I'm serious. I wanted to hear how they were going to protect people's lives, not what they can't do.

It's not only senior citizens. It's people who are blind, who have a disability, or who drop their glasses, keys, cellphones or whatever while crossing and need a few seconds to pick them up.

Try helping a little old lady cross the street like your mom taught you to do and you're taking your own life in your hands.

The House bill, HB806, is scheduled to be heard by the transportation committee on Monday, 02-05-07 at 9:00 am in House conference room 309. A schedule for hearing the Senate bill SB1191 mentioned in the article has not yet been set.

A suggestion that was popular with us ordinary folks at the Senate hearing was that the DOT publish intermediate results and begin to take action instead of waiting for the 2008 study to be completed. If they wait, the 2009 legislature must take action and probably nothing would be done until 2010.

Imagine how many lives will avoidably be lost if we let them take their own sweet time to fix this identified problem. And no one seems to be counting those injured or maimed, which is probably several times the published body count.

What can you do? Depends on whether you're as angry as I am. You could always call the governor (586-0034). Or you could send in testimony on the two bills (better, come on down and speak in person).


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