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Kokua Line

Traffic control among many of HPD’s tasks after outage


QUESTION: Why weren’t there any police officers to control major intersections in Ewa during the March 4 power outage at peak traffic times as a minimum? On top of everything else we had to endure, the driving was extremely dangerous and scary. Trying to cross six lanes of traffic in the dark and rain and hoping that people were treating it as a four-way stop was not something we should have had to go through. None of the intersections had police when I left at 4:30 a.m., and there weren’t any when I returned around 6:30 p.m. A big thank you to the Police Department and HECO for turning an awful situation into an unbearable one.

ANSWER: The Honolulu Police Department says it did post officers at key intersections during the day, but that some of them had to be redeployed to other areas, including strike sites set up by picketing Hawaiian Electric Co. workers.

"Additional officers were brought in and officers were posted at as many intersections as possible," said HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu. "However, with downed poles on Fort Weaver Road, Fort Barrette Road and Kamokila Boulevard and the HECO strike, it was not possible to have all intersections staffed at all times."

She credited "dedicated volunteers" from the city Department of Emergency Services (formerly known as the Oahu Civil Defense Agency) for coming out and helping with traffic management.

"Their presence, professionalism and training are greatly appreciated by the department," she said.

On Friday, March 4, Yu said police officers and Emergency Management volunteers were posted at affected intersections on Fort Weaver Road until 3:30 p.m.

At that time, some officers were redeployed to monitor strike posts at the HECO power plant in Kahe.

"The officers were also instructed to check on Fort Weaver throughout the weekend and assist when necessary," Yu said.

Despite intersections not being directed by officers at all times during the power failure, she said there was only one minor collision reported that weekend.

For that she thanked motorists "who showed aloha for other drivers and treated the intersections as four-way stops."

QUESTION: The city’s website’s information on recyclable items says, "Flatten boxes; corrugated only. No single layer chipboard such as cereal boxes, detergent boxes, tissue boxes, etc." However, some cereal boxes have "recyclable" printed on the box. Do I throw these into the trash instead of the recycle bin?

QUESTION: I am a recycling fiend. The blue recycling bin only lists containers with #1 and #2 as being allowable in the bin. But I’ve seen articles that say plastic containers with #4 and #5 also can be recycled. Can we place these containers in the blue bin, too?

ANSWER: The answers from the city Department of Environmental Services are "yes" to the first question — just toss the cereal boxes into the trash — and "no" to the second question.

The reason is that the city has no market for those materials. Asked whether there are any plans to expand the kinds of recyclable items it will accept, the answer was, "Not at this time."

"The focus is on educating and maturing the current system," said Markus Owens, spokesman for Environmental Services. "If there is no local market for the lesser commodity items, then it would not be fiscally prudent for the city to collect them."

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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