The city is planning to install two roundabouts on 10th Ave. in Palolo.
One will be built on the intersection of Keanu St. The second will be just a few blocks down on Hinahina St.
Roundabouts are meant to help eliminate speeding, which residents say is a problem on 10th Ave., but it’s been several years since a roundabout has been installed.
The roundabouts will look like the one on Keeaumoku St. in Makiki. It was the first one built on Oahu 15 years ago. Since then, only two other roundabouts have been installed.
KHON2 spoke with Nua Memea, a Palolo resident who lives on the corner where one of the roundabouts will be built. “It would be really good cause it would slow traffic,” she said. Memea says she’s seen too many accidents happen on 10th Avenue from speeding.
But other residents, like Paul Holtrop, are skeptical. He says other anti-speeding measures done by the city, like a choke point farther into 10th Ave. have failed. The choke point narrows the lane on each side with the intent of slowing traffic down, but Holtrop says it’s made the area more dangerous.
“Definitely for the bicyclists and it really doesn’t slow the traffic down,” Holtrop said. “People who drive it every day, they know where they have to point their car and they roll through it at full speed.”
Officials say the roundabouts were planned at the request of residents.
“They requested traffic calming devices and then, in working with the community, they identified roundabouts as the solution for these two intersections,” said Transportation Services Director Mike Formby.
The city says roundabouts are effective in stopping the problem of speeding without holding up traffic. Only three of them have been built because they’re expensive.
The two for Palolo will cost about a million dollars, mostly paid for by the federal government.
“They definitely work when you put them in to these busy streets and we have other communities that asked us to look at them for traffic calming devices, for example, Lanikai,” Formby said.
Formby says residents will be convinced once they’re built.
But a resident who lives by the Makiki roundabout, which has been there for 15 years, says drivers are still confused by it.
“A lot of people come to this roundabout and they freak out,” said Makiki resident Kait Huff. “They either stomp on their brakes and don’t know what to do or they just go speeding right through it as if there’s nothing there.”
The general rule for drivers is you always yield to the car that’s already in the roundabout.
The city says it will hold public meetings and send out flyers to residents to educate them about roundabouts.
Construction in Palolo is scheduled for January and will take about three to four months.