8/6/22 #kihei

It was June of 2013 when the State Land Use Commission (LUC) granted the change requested by the Department of Education (DOE) at site of the new high school in N. Kihei, mauka of the highway. As they allowed this change, they set some conditions on the DOE before school could open. The major and best known was to create a safe way for pedestrians to reach the school without confronting all the motor vehicles on this highway. A grade separated pedestrian crossing (GSPC = over or underpass) must be in place before the school can admit students.

Since that meeting at the MACC, the DOE has taken no measures to achieve this legal requirement, but rather made numerous attempts to remove the condition. They lost every time. Rather than taking actions to achieve the GSPC after each loss, they instead made yet another attempt to find a way around it, showing no concern for student safety. As the years went by and numerous false opening dates for the school accumulated, they continued the same pattern. They never sought funding from the state legislature. They never sought any actual studies to determine a reasonable plan for the GSPC. They just continued to return to the LUC with a new version of why the condition should be removed.

Finally a realistic actual opening of the school date has approached, and they are confronted with the dilemma they created. So the DOE has hired two professional public relations firms to meet with the community. A specific meeting with the KCA BOD was held on August 4. After this meeting we have concluded the DOE has hired these firms to again find a way around the condition, so what has changed?

After presenting a few options for the GSPC, including the most realistic and forward-thinking one of using the existing Waipuilani Gulch underpass, they concluded by asking the audience to come up with suggestions for how the DOE can again avoid the condition and open the school without providing a safe crossing, with the idea that if the DOE can get away with it, then sometime in the future they may provide a GSPC. They expressed that it would be OK to force the kids to cross the highway while there are not that many of them. Are a few accidents and injuries OK, as opposed to a larger number? The purpose of the GSPC is to avoid all accidents and injuries from students meeting traffic.

 


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