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Kihei Roundabout Officially Open | News

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Kihei Roundabout Officially Open
News, Transportation
Kihei Roundabout Officially Open

WAILUKU, Maui, Hawai`i – Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa along with Council member Don Couch were among the first to drive around the Kihei Roundabout after a short blessing ceremony this afternoon.

Located near the intersection of Pi`ikea Avenue and Liloa Drive, the Kihei roundabout is actually the third roundabout constructed on Maui, although it is the first that is county owned and large enough to handle buses and trucks and other full-sized vehicles.

Mayor Arakawa said this roundabout is a new direction for Maui when it comes to handling traffic at intersections. Depending on the success of this roundabout, the county may want to consider constructing others at suitable locations.

"If we don't try we'll never know," said Mayor Arakawa. "I think people will see the benefit of it."

Council member Couch said he expects roundabouts to be in high demand from other communities in the future.

"Isn't this far better than a four way stop or traffic signal?" he asked.

Public Works Director David Goode said according to national traffic statistics this type of roundabout here in Kihei is "70 percent safer than other types of intersections."

The US Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration describes roundabouts as "a proven safety solution that prevent and reduce the severity of intersection crashes."

"Roundabouts reduce traffic conflicts (for example, left turns) that are frequent causes of crashes at traditional intersections," according to the U.S. DOT website. "Unlike a traffic circle or a rotary, a roundabout's incoming traffic yields to the circulating traffic."

Managing Director Keith Regan cited the fact that safety is needed in the area, especially at an intersection so close to schools, housing and shopping centers. Immediately after today's ceremony pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, city buses and other traffic began using the roundabout with no problems.

For those interested in seeing how to properly use the roundabout, please check out our Roundabout How-To Video posted at the Maui County Youtube page by clicking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNN_3G8f5ns&context=C4c951aaADvjVQa1PpcFNuIuTDHygBr96aGH4KgMMAp45bFpMPj7s=.

Photos Courtesy County of Maui/Ryan Piros

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