Pedestrians say speeders make Kahala Tunnel dangerous

Pedestrians say speeders make Kahala Tunnel dangerous

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the fast track to Diamond Head Crater -- literally.

The posted speed limit in Kahala Tunnel is 5 mph but you don't need a radar gun to know that a lot of vehicles are motoring through much faster than that.

"I've seen cars race through that tunnel. And opposing cars don't appreciate how narrow it is until they get close to each other. And when they realize their mirrors are going to hit, they swerve," Dick Quinn said.

Quinn walks through the tunnel every other day on his eight-mile exercise walk. He has seen many close shaves between speeding cars and pedestrians.

"With cars racing through in both directions somebody is going to get hurt," he said.

Department of Land and Natural Resources director William Aila said warnings are clear.

"We have signage. We have created a pedestrian walkway. There's a physical barrier in terms of being able to see and visualize where pedestrians should be, where vehicles should be," he said.

The state narrowed traffic lanes in the tunnel and put up reflective poles to give walkers and joggers a path.

"There's some barriers that actually are flexible barriers. One gentleman was driving through and actually hitting the barriers," visitor Mike Short said.

There's no record of vehicles hitting people in the tunnel but odds are increasing. Visitor traffic to the crater is up 30 percent over the last two years.

"There was a car and I was facing the traffic, and the car just came by really close and almost clipped me as I was walking through," Alyson Vinish said.

Quinn thinks stop lights at both ends to alternate tunnel traffic would slow speeders and give walkers more room.

"We constantly remind the major users of the tunnel in terms of vehicular access to slow down," Aila said.

He said the state may one day replace the flexible posts with a concrete barrier. Quinn wants action now.

"They need enforcement officers who have badges who can give tickets," he said.

"Our enforcement officers are statutorily authorized to enforce, but we neither have the equipment or the training in order to do so," Aila said.

He said he may ask police to post officers with speed guns, now that worry is mounting over the tunnel some feel is an accident waiting to happen.

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