Your Views for December 16

Open Railroad Ave

My name is Paul Anthony, and I’m a junior at Hilo High School. However, I live in Hawaiian Beaches.

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I’m writing to you to implore you to consider opening Railroad Avenue from Hawaiian Beaches to Hilo, because it is in the best interest of the community.

Over the past four months, we have experienced volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and extreme flooding that has threatened the safety of Puna residents. In May, Leilani Estates and the Kapoho subdivisions were destroyed as fissures opened up and spewed lava, destroying more than 700 homes and property.

The lava flows forced thousands of people from their homes, many to never return. Cracks opened up between Highway 132 and the Old Kalapana Road between mile markers 14.4 and 14.6, making the road impassible.

In August, the effects from Hurricane Lane closed Highway 130 between Keaau High School and Hawaiian Paradise Park. At the same time, Highway 11 was closed at mile marker 15 due to extreme flooding. For more than 8 hours, there was no way in or out of Puna.

My father works at the Kona Community Hospital and commutes daily back and forth between Pahoa and Kona. Due to the flooding and hazardous road conditions, he was unable to get home until the roads were cleared and opened at around 2:30 a.m.

I feel that opening Railroad Avenue would not only alleviate traffic, it also would provide an alternate route in case of emergencies.

According to the Hawaii County website, the Puna district has nearly 58,000 residents. For one major highway, or rather the only highway, that’s too much! Especially since Highway 130 is known as one of the deadliest highways in the state.

According to the state Department of Transportation, Hawaii ranks second in the United States for the highest number of traffic fatalities in 2017. Out of the 83 traffic fatalities in the state, 30 were in Hawaii County alone.

In the best interest of public safety, I again ask that you open Railroad Avenue from Pahoa to Hilo. I appreciate your time and hope that you will give this matter your immediate attention.

Paul Anthony

Pahoa

Fix potholes

My name is Raelee Takayesu. I am a student from Hilo High School. I would like to address the problem of potholes on our streets and roads.

I believe that safety should be priority No. 1 in our community. I feel like potholes create a huge safety concern for pedestrians and drivers. We need to start putting the safety of our people first.

Potholes can create many problems and issues. Over time, potholes damage our tires and cars. We pay taxes, but the roads are not getting fixed. And over time we are forced to make more repairs to our cars out of our own pockets.

Motorcycle drivers also are at a higher risk for an accident. “When a vehicle hits a deep pothole, the impact is similar to that of a collision at 35 mph,” according to James Moles, an injury lawyer. It could also create a chain-reaction accident.

Filling our roads’ potholes will lower the number of car accidents and also will create a more safe driving experience.

I hope this letter will open more people up to seeing that something so small and minor could result in major damage to our cars over time, or a big accident.

Thank you for your consideration and taking the time to read about an issue I believe should be fixed soon.

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Raelee Takayesu

Hilo

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