I was born and raised on Oahu, so even calling the afternoon delays on Mamalahoa Highway or Keaau-Pahoa Road “traffic” seems quaint. It almost makes me nostalgic for Oahu of the 1970s.
But anyone that travels these roads must know about these inevitable delays. In my estimation, the traffic between Hilo and Pahoa in the afternoon is man-made and self-chosen.
Let’s start with the lightest offense and work to the most egregious.
The Pahoa roundabouts are not a bad idea. They take a little getting used to if you’re not from Europe, but once incorporated, the placement near the shopping center and Puna Kai are an excellent choice. Why does the town of Pahoa, with a population less than 1,000, need two? Again, this is just quibbling, because the two main causes of traffic on this route are way worse.
The light at Shipman Business Park and Mamalahoa backs up traffic two miles to Hilo and beyond every weekday afternoon. Why? For the three cars that have to turn left every 10 minutes out of Shipman? This is where you put a roundabout, and have the Shipman traffic yield to the far greater volume of cars traveling south.
A wise man (Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”) once said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” He may have been alluding to this intersection.
Finally, I’d like to know who’s bright idea the traffic light at the intersection of Keaau-Pahoa Road and Shower/Pohaku Drive at the beginning of Hawaiian Paradise Park was. That one light causes a traffic jam every day from late morning until evening that sometimes stretches as far back as Pahoa town.
Immediately past this light, the traffic dissipates. And you can’t bypass it by cutting through HPP, because when they added the traffic light, they also added a “no right turn on red” sign at Shower Drive. This is where you put a roundabout.
The 2% of cars that turn left onto Shower, or left from Pohaku, should not displace the 98% of traffic headed from HPP and points southern, into Hilo. A five-minute portion of country road has been turned into the occasional 40-minute, bumper-to-bumper traffic jam that the population does not naturally cause or deserve.
I don’t know how to change this, but anyone who makes any part of commutes in either direction knows exactly what I’m talking about.
This was some very poor city planning.
I must speak out on behalf of the police.
Police do not think in terms of “shoot to kill.” They think in terms of “stop the aggressor immediately before more harm is done to innocent persons.”
In the field, in the moment, the factual reality is that when shooting the body of an aggressor, the consequences are not immediate, and you cannot take a wait-and-see approach by shooting once at a foot or arm and hoping to have done enough damage to stop the violence.
What I as a psychologist want to see most is a nonlethal means of immediately stopping an aggressor that considers whether they might be mentally disabled, and other means may be ineffective.
We have a moral responsibility to be able to secure the mentally ill during a crisis and to do so for the mentally well, but criminal, with minimal risk to their health.