Question: Is there a number to call for traffic advisory? A water main break happened Friday morning, Aug. 20 on Ala Moana Boulevard. We were stuck in a traffic jam at 3 p.m. going to the airport. Many of us were unaware of the main break, which caused the traffic jam. Surely, there should have been notification to travelers.
Answer: There is no traffic advisory hot line to call, but an automated 511 traveler information system is being developed and expected to be operating by the end of 2012.
For now, state and city officials and the Honolulu Police Department say they immediately notify the news media — major television and radio stations, and newspaper and Internet sources — of any accident or incident affecting traffic.
"One of the best ways to get information on incidents is through the radio station updates," said city administration spokesman Bill Brennan.
The state Department of Transportation alerts motorists about prolonged emergency closures via electronic message boards. You also can call the department at 587-2160 for traffic information during normal business hours, said spokeswoman Tammy Mori.
Regarding the Aug. 20 main break, the Board of Water Supply issued a traffic advisory to news media after being notified that Ala Moana had to be closed.
Its standard procedure is to also notify HPD, Honolulu Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Department of Emergency Management and the state Transportation Department.
Meanwhile, Brennan and Mori pointed to the recently launched goakamai.org website, which consolidates the state’s freeway speed monitoring system with the city’s traffic cameras.
That website shows current traffic conditions on Oahu roads 24/7. It supersedes the city’s driveakamai.org website, which listed only construction projects, that shut down July 31.
The 511 information system, which will be part of goakamai.org, will operate by verbal commands or touch-tone keystrokes to provide real-time traffic conditions and estimated travel times, Mori said.
"Future phases of notifying the public also will include text, Twitter and Facebook for those who subscribe for real-time notices on accidents or unplanned lane closures," she said.
Meanwhile, www.honolulu.gov/cameras/ allows you to view multiple "hot spot traffic cameras" and also provides a link to HPD’s list of constantly updated traffic incidents.
Question: I just had my car inspected and was charged $20, including $5 for "tinted windows." Is this correct? I thought there was a flat charge of $14 for safety inspections.
Answer: Safety inspection stations are allowed to charge $5 to check window tints.
The "periodic vehicle inspection" program is administered by the counties for the state Department of Transportation.
Authorized fees are listed under the department’s Hawaii Administrative Rules, Section 19-133.2-22, including: $14.70 inspection fee for automobiles and trucks; $8.75 for motorcycles and trailers; $5 to replace destroyed or lost inspection stickers or forms; and $5 for testing light transmittance with a meter.
To the fellow on Kailua Beach who let his aggressive dog charge our pooch twice the weekend of Sept. 4: No collar. No leash. No sense. Dogs and their owners co-exist with others pretty well there. If you’re blessed with an excitable hound, at least be able to restrain him. Better still, leave him at home. — Kailua Dog Lover