Well, unfortunately, it finally happened. After years of watching speeders race up and down Wanaao Road in Kailua, someone has died in an accident. Was it predictable? Yes! Was it preventable? Yes! Astonishingly, this was one of three serious accidents in the last three weeks in the same exact location in the middle of this long, straight road, and the fourth since the road was recently repaved. Each time speeding was a factor.
It has been disheartening for me and my neighbors over the past years to consistently see both old and young people being lifted into ambulances, some suffering permanent injuries, and now a fatality. Why does this continue to happen, and who is to blame?
It is not the neighbors who have worked for over five years to get the City to install speed abatement measures on this road. It is not the Kailua Neighborhood Board who has strongly urged the City to do something. It is even not the speeding drivers themselves who become victims of a street system that encourages speeding on residential streets that can accommodate 60 mile-per-hour speeds.
The neighbors worked hard with then-Mayor Jeremy Harris who had a speed abatement project designed, and the construction funds appropriated, but Mayor Mufi Hannemann canceled the project. Tragically, there are simple and inexpensive solutions available for the problem; if only we had some elected officials with the interest and fortitude to do the right thing. Efforts to slow traffic to speeds that are safe for residential streets must increase, lest we only continue to grieve for the folks as they are loaded into the ambulance or lowered into the ground.
Chair, Kailua Neighborhood Board