School wants traffic calming to stop speeders

School wants traffic calming to stop speeders

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow)

The speed limit on Papipi Road used to be 35 mph until the city dialed it back to 25 mph. The road runs in front of Ewa Beach Elementary School.

Neighborhood Board Chairman Kevin Rathbun said too often drivers go too fast and put kids at risk.

"People in a hurry, making turns. If there are children in the crosswalks, they get impatient and don't want to wait. It's a major safety issue," he said.

In April a vehicle hit a nine-year-old boy in front of the school.

"He came out of it ok. But still, it's dangerous," vice principal Bob Hurley said.

Papipi is a main route to Ocean Pointe and a public park. Rathbun has seen vehicles zoom down the straightaway.

"In excess of 40 miles an hour, easily, sometimes 50," he said.

Ewa Beach Elementary is one of four schools close to Papipi Road. Before and after school the street's crowded with kids.

"Probably in the neighborhood of 5,000 students in this four or five block area," Rathbun said.

Hurley said cars use the shoulder of the road to cut around other vehicles.

"They can even drive over in an area there that they should not be driving in where we have some children waiting to cross the street, as well as other cars waiting over there to pick up children," he said.

To make matters worse, the school lost its crossing guard last year. Until a replacement arrives staffers are doing the work.

"But when we're not here, there's no one to take care of it," Hurley said. "That really concerns us."

Rathbun is on the school's community council. He said the city recently re-painted crosswalks and installed bright yellow warning signs near the school.

"The people that are driving responsibly notice these things," he said.

The school wants more traffic calming measures, bus stops moved away from crosswalks, and the speed limit reduced during school hours.

"When children are present we want it at 15," Hurley said.

The city has suggested raising crosswalks fronting the school to create speed bumps, using digital speed signs, and installing berms on the shoulders of the road so cars can't cut around traffic.

Hurley said something needs to be done soon.

"We're patient," he said. "But at the same time our patience is running thin, especially when we consider the safety of our children."

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