By TOM CALLIS
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Speed limit signs will soon become more than an advisory in Hawaiian Paradise Park.
The Hawaii County Council last week adopted two bills establishing maximum speeds for unpaved and some paved roads in the Puna neighborhood.
Next week, the council’s Committee on Public Works, Parks and Recreation will consider separate speed limits for the subdivision’s main roads.
HPP already had speed limit signs posted, but they could not be enforced since the neighborhood’s roads were left out of the county’s ordinance regulating traffic speeds, said June Conant, HPP Owners Association treasurer. She said she came across the apparent oversight last year and submitted a request with the county to have its streets added to the ordinance.
The neighborhood’s roads are private, but Conant noted that other private subdivisions also have enforceable speed limits.
“They were unofficial,” said Ron Thiel, Public Works traffic division chief. “They didn’t meet any of the criteria” without the ordinance, he said, adding tickets could be tossed out in court.
While official speed limits may help with safety, they will also assist the neighborhood tackle its dust problem on unpaved roads, Conant said.
“The main reason we did it is for the dust,” she said. “I really, really try to stay between 15 and 20 all the time because it does make a big difference.”
Once signed by the mayor, the speed limits will be 15 mph for dirt roads and 25 mph for paved roads except for Shower Drive, Kaloli Drive, Paradise Drive and Makuu Drive.
Those main roads would have 35 mph limits under the bill being considered next week.
While the speed limits are expected to soon become official, the Hawaii County Police Department doesn’t plan to increase traffic enforcement in the neighborhood, a police spokeswoman said in an email.
“We have no plans to target Hawaiian Paradise Park for traffic enforcement,” the spokeswoman said. “We plan to continue showing our presence in all communities island wide and will continue to show our presence in Paradise Park, as we have been doing, as a deterrent to crime in the area.”
Conant said HPP may consider hiring off-duty officers to search for violators, at least initially.
“If we can just get a few tickets once in a while, it will start to make people a little more cautious,” she said.
The neighborhood also plans to buy more speed limit signs for unpaved roads.
That could cost $15,000, Conant said.
Most of them are currently attached to the back of stop signs.
“We’re going to be putting actual signs up,” she said. “You got to buy the poles and you got to buy the concrete.”
Email Tom Callis a firstname.lastname@example.org.