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Traffic is a headache we all must face together


I hate traffic.

As a transportation writer I know I’m supposed to be objective and all, but everyone hates traffic. It’s kind of like saying murder is bad. After all, traffic can be murder.

"Parkway" will appear here every Friday, but this column won’t be just about how traffic is junk. It’ll be about helping to develop a well-informed traveling public. "Parkway" will be about laws new and old, about pedestrian safety, about bicycles and even Honolulu’s increasingly inevitable rail transit system.

It’s called "Parkway" because parkways are defined by a median that cuts between two opposing roads. I hope to be that median.

But when I asked around for ideas on what I could write about for my first column, all anyone could suggest was about how traffic is junk.

So let’s just get it out of our system. I asked an open-ended Hawaii traffic pet peeve question to people on Facebook and Twitter.

I received more than 50 answers. Here are some:

"Those tourists in those little buggies!" exclaims public relations maven Melissa Kim. "Why are they allowed on the Pali Highway?"

"Rubbernecking and slow drivers," says graphic designer Mina Baek.

"Men keep honking their horns at me! And I don’t even drive," says Tinabelle Quezon, apparently a part-time producer of much rubbernecking.

"No blinkers!" tweets @lazarus2000 on Twitter. "Did Hawaii pass a ban on blinker usage when I wasn’t looking?"

"Drivers who cruise below the speed limit in the far-left fast lane of the freeway. Kindly move to the right please," says ever-cordial KHON2 reporter Andrew Pereira on Twitter as @Khon_Reporter.

Why stop there, though? I asked two prominent transportation community leaders what grinds their gears.

True to his background, University of Hawaii civil engineering professor Panos Prevedouros said he’s bothered by bottlenecks caused by "the ancient design of the freeway system."

"The predictions of how many lanes were needed (at the H-1 and H-2 merge) were not accurate," said the former mayoral candidate.

Interim Department of Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto said, "Everyone has their opinion on what works and what should be done."

"I understand their frustration, but it’s hard sometimes to do what everyone thinks should be done. Everybody drives and we’re all stuck."

He’s right, though, we’re all in this together. And as much as we rant, what other state drives with as much aloha as we do? Like a hearty plate lunch, it’s something to be missed.

Margaret Sharpe, a friend, Los Angeles writer and frequent Hawaii visitor, said when she drives on the nefarious Interstate 405, nobody ever lets her in, and there is nary a shaka when she lets people in.

"Obviously I miss Hawaii and its slow but nicer drivers," she said.

I imagine you have a lot on your mind when it comes to getting around. I want to hear your questions and concerns. And I hope this column will make us all luckier that we live, and drive, Hawaii.


Gene Park can be reached at or on Twitter as @GenePark.

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