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Puainako pick-up lanes help, ‘but I don’t think this is the solution’ for school traffic

New pick-up lanes at two Hilo schools are helping to ease traffic, but it still may be best to avoid Puainako Street from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on school days.

People waiting to pick up their students at Waiakea Elementary and Waiakea Intermediate Schools now have access to new pick-up lanes on the schools’ campuses that help unsnarl traffic on the busy corridor.

While the newly constructed pick-up lanes help move cars off Puainako, traffic remains heavy in the early afternoon.

“This new pick-up pattern helps, but I don’t think this is the solution for the traffic,” said WES Principal Ken Watanabe. “It’s more than just a problem with school traffic. There is a lot going on in this area.”

Many trucks use Puainako to get to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from Highway 11, and traffic backs up the road since it is a busy shopping area.

Students at Waiakea High School on the parallel Kawili Street also get out at the same time and cause more traffic.

“Since using the new lines, kids are going home about 10 minutes faster than before, which is good,” Watanabe said. “But again, it’s not the full solution, and I think there are bigger things that need to be addressed.”

County Council member Sue Lee Loy previously told the Tribune-Herald the state Department of Transportation plans to assess traffic in the area after the pick-up lanes were complete.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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