You are here:  Main / Customer Services / Public Communications Division / 2010 / Acting Mayor Caldwell Kicks Off Back To School Season

ACTING MAYOR CALDWELL KICKS OFF BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON

 

(Mon., Aug. 9, 2010)—Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell and city transportation officials reminded the public today about the expected increased morning traffic with the upcoming back to school season.

 

“Drivers need to be aware that the morning commute into Honolulu will become busier as over 60,000 college and private school students head back to class this month and next,” Caldwell said at a press conference today at the City Traffic Management Center near Punchbowl. “With the school season resuming, we advise drivers to adjust their commute times to avoid the increased traffic.”

 

On Monday, August 23, the University of Hawaii-Manoa campus and four community colleges on Oahu will make up the largest group heading back to class with a combined 40,000 students. Some private schools will begin instruction earlier this month, with Kamehameha Schools and Mid-Pacific Institute starting classes tomorrow (August 10), Caldwell noted.

 

Some general commuting tips include:

·       Planning your commute earlier or later during the rush-hour period to avoid peak traffic.

·       Anticipate longer commutes with the increased traffic

·       Keep your vehicle maintained to prevent stalls and break-downs

·       Using alternative modes of commuting like walking or biking

·       Encourage ridesharing, such as:

o      Carpooling

o      Vanpooling

o      Riding TheBus

 

City transportation director Wayne Yoshioka said that the City Department of Transportation Services (DTS) is currently in the process of optimizing traffic signals islandwide to improve traffic flow.  This optimization effort is anchored by its Traffic Management Center which also helps identify and respond to traffic incidents in coordination with HPD, the State Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the traffic reporters who provide information from the TMC during rush hours. Yoshioka noted that the planned Joint Traffic Management Center will expand the capabilities of the TMC by eventually housing, under one roof, the traffic control operations of DTS and HDOT, as well as operations of first-responder agencies such as Fire, Police, Emergency Services, and Emergency Management.

 

            TheBus offers 34 commuter express routes serving riders from various suburban areas of Honolulu to Pearl Harbor, Downtown, Waikiki and University of Hawaii at Manoa. For more information on bus route service, call 848-5555 or check TheBus website at www.thebus.org.

 

A University Bus Pass Program or “U-PASS” provides bus passes to Oahu’s university and college students at reduced cost. Currently, there are 15 participating institutions, which include all University of Hawaii campuses on Oahu, Hawaii Pacific University and Chaminade University.

 

TheBus also offers a commuter transportation program that distributes bus passes or transit voucher benefits to employees of participating companies.  For more information on both programs, call TheBus at 848-4500.

 

Vanpool Hawaii organizes vanpools of 7 to 15 people who share the commute to and from work in Vanpool Hawaii vans for only $65 a month for each participant. Vanpool Hawaii organizes vanpool programs for commuters who live and work in the same geographical area and have similar work schedules. For more information about the program, check Vanpool Hawaii’s website at www.vanpoolhawaii.com or call (808) 596-VANS.

 

Honolulu Police Department Chief Louis Kealoha also reminded motorists to drive with Aloha as a courtesy to other drivers and pedestrians.

 

“Drivers who have to be on the road during peak hours should leave early and pay attention to the cars around them; many collisions are due to rushed or distracted drivers,” Chief Kealoha said. “At the same time, we ask motorists to drive with Aloha as our keiki walk or bike to school.”

 

-30-

 

Media Contact: Bill Brennan, 768-6928