Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Things Wrong with Honolulu Roads -- May 2009 Update

At least three things are wrong in the picture below:
(1) The wind has blown one traffic signal open.
(2) The sign is vandalized with stickers.

(3) Traffic has the right of way but the pedestrian is crossing against the light and outside the

At the same intersection, more things are wrong. Motorists can barely see the yellow light when it's on, and the red light is totally hidden by the overgrown tree branches. This increases accident risk and creates substantial liability for the city.

Historically there have been a lot of complaints about uncoordinated road construction projects. Here is an example: The new pavement shown below was constructed seven months ago and should have an expected life of good service of about 15 years. In a well-managed city that is. By Honolulu standard it'll be pothole patched for an additional 15 years.

This smooth pavement is about to be cut open for an underground installation.

These pictures were taken in one half hour period between Diamond Head and the UH-Manoa campus. No attempt was made to photograph the ruts and potholes along 22nd Avenue in Kaimuki. Although a massive pavement job was done on Kilauea Avenue from KCC to Kahala, busy 22nd Ave. (a bus route too) was ignored. The roughness index on 22nd Ave should be below 30, with 100 being the best and 75 being the point at which the road is entered into a repaving schedule so that it can be repaved before its roughness reaches 50.

The problem is that many neighborhood roads are much worse than 22nd Avenue, e.g., several low volume roads in Manoa and Kailua that I have seen. We still have no preventative maintenance and our catch up is too slow to catch up because of wrong priorities and budget allocations. Reduced tax collections will only make matters worse in the next bienium.

---- Update ----

Pleased to be 48 hours ahead of AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials that on Friday, May 8 issued a report Rough Roads Ahead: Fix Them Now or Pay for It Later. Here's an interesting piece of information that affects us directly in the pocketbook:
Driving on rough roads costs the average American motorist approximately $400 a year in extra vehicle operating costs. Drivers living in urban areas with populations over 250,000 are paying upwards of $750 more annually because of accelerated vehicle deterioration, increased maintenance, additional fuel consumption, and tire wear caused by poor road conditions.