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Safety issues kept Kapahulu Avenue closed during tsunami evacuation

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Question: Why wasnt Kapahulu Avenue opened for the emergency evacuation of Waikiki on Thursday, March 10, when we had the tsunami alert? I realize there was a water main repair job under way, but surely city or civil defense authorities could have found a way to open up at least one lane for the evacuation.

Answer: Because of the tsunami warning, work to repair the broken water main on Kapahulu Avenue was suspended that evening and the Board of Water Supply crew told to evacuate the area.

However, the Honolulu Police Department kept Kapahulu Avenue closed for safety reasons, said John M. Cummings III, spokesman for the city Department of Emergency Management.

"HPD also determined that residents could get out safely and quickly by other designated routes," he said. "The evacuation was orderly and the traffic was manageable."

Cummings said the city Emergency Operations Center monitored all traffic-related issues that morning and would have requested "modifications" to traffic patterns if there had been a problem.

The Board of Water Supply crew returned to the job site after the all-clear signal Friday morning, and the water main was repaired by Saturday morning, he said.

Question: In February I observed a mother parking her car, rolling down the windows, lifting the hatchback door and walking across the street into Libby’s Manapua on Kalihi Street. She left her two children, an infant and a toddler, sleeping in their car seats. I was horrified. As I walked into Libby’s, she was holding the door open, saying she is in line but has to watch her children in the car. I said, You left them in the car, and she replied, "It’s not illegal." After we left Libby’s I told her that she shouldn’t leave her kids in the car, that they might not be there when she got back. She used profanity as we both left. Could you let parents know that it is illegal to leave children unattended in a car?

Answer: In 2008 the state Legislature passed and Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law a measure making it a violation to leave a child under the age of 9 unattended in a motor vehicle for five minutes or longer.

The Legislature noted that since 2003 three Hawaii children had died of heatstroke after being left unattended, while children were left in cars that were stolen four times in 2005.

Other concerns include setting the car in motion or being caught in a power window.

"Unattended" means leaving a child alone or with a minor under the age of 12. First-time offenders could receive a citation, with fines of $200 to $500.

For information about the dangers of leaving children unattended, see the Kids and Cars website,


To Pololu Silva, who found my wallet on Saturday, March 12, and turned it in to the Honolulu Police Department completely untouched. Everything was in the wallet. He has shown the Aloha Spirit through his integrity. Thank you!
Jared Yamaguchi

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 email
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