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Traffic report for HoKua Place questioned

LIHU‘E — A traffic-impact study detailing anticipated effects of the HoKua Place development in Kapa‘a uses data from 2017 and only analyzes recurring traffic.

Some raised this as an issue Thursday during proceedings to determine if the state’s Land Use Commission should approve an amendment to rezone 97 acres of agricultural land to urban district land to develop the property.

Developer HG Kaua‘i Joint Ventures LLC aims to build 86 single-family lots with 683 multi-family units, a 1.4-acre neighborhood commercial center and a 3.1-acre community park south of Kapa‘a Middle School.

Since March, the commission has been continuing a hearing after a November intervention from Liko Martin. Thursday’s hearing continued with witnesses focusing on agriculture, traffic and the county’s housing market.

The Traffic Impact Analysis Report Update expects the development to generate 487 vehicle trips per hour in the morning peak hours and 560 during evening peak hours. The TIAR did not cover midday traffic.

Land Use Commissioner Dan Giovanni, who represents Kaua‘i on the board, expressed concern that the traffic study hadn’t accurately captured the congestion of peak hours, current construction like the state adding a southbound lane to Kuhio Highway in Wailua, and incidental traffic caused by accidents or severe weather.

Randall Okaneku, principal of The Traffic Management Consultant which performed the TIAR, said the field analysis was conducted over a week’s length of time, and focused on recurring traffic primarily.

The TIAR proposes mitigation efforts including a road from Olohena Road to the Kapa‘a bypass and a roundabout at its intersection with the bypass.

The 2017 report also suggested that existing traffic congestion on Kuhio Highway can be mitigated by removing on-street parking in Kapa‘a, which the county and state rejected, according to county Department of Public Works comments to the report.

An updated 2020 study was delayed by the pandemic “until normal conditions returned,” which could take up to five years, according to Okaneku.

Another report addressed concerns raised by the commission, county’s DPW and state Department of Transportation. Additional data was collected in 2018, but does not cover the affected Kapa‘a areas. Giovanni asked that the document be put into evidence of the case.

Okaneku said that in the week-long field study, there was no stop-and-go traffic in the studied area, which spanned within Kapa‘a, and not west toward Wailua or north toward Kealia.

However, Okaneku said the existing report provides enough information to the commission to have a full picture.

“We have an abundance of public testimony in this hearing in this case in which the traffic conditions are, in lay terms, characterized as being ‘horrific,’ ‘terrible,’ words to that effect,” Giovanni said.

One piece of public testimony received April 8 by the LUC, characterized this, with Patricia Lawrence writing, “As a resident of Kaua‘i, I am extremely concerned about further land development on this island, especially this area, which is already overcrowded, experiencing massive daily traffic problems, even on the Bypass. To add more housing (will) grind life and flow in Kapa‘a and indeed on the East Shore to a halt.”

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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