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Sunday, June 27, 2021
Letters to the Editor June, 2021
By Letters to the Editor @ 11:15 PM :: 3065 Views

How Red-Light cameras are rigged to generate tickets

Dear Editor,    June 27, 2021

Once again the City prepares to burden the taxpayer with a flawed contrivance under the guise of “safety.” The Red-Light camera system is the latest culprit and anyone paying attention sees that this is just another tax. And a tax rigged dramatically in favor of the city! 

No one condones the deliberate and flagrant running of a red light. We’ve all seen it, and it should be ticketed and the culprit heavily fined. At the same time we’ve all been caught in that gray area when the light turns yellow while approaching an intersection. We are required to make an instantaneous “time-distance-speed” snap judgement resulting in, “Do I slam on the brakes and risk getting rear-ended or do I accelerate through the intersection?”

A recent (6/21/21) canvas of 9 of the 14 intersections where cameras are planned reveals that every single one has an improperly timed yellow light. The light duration is too brief, and naturally contributes to cars either inadvertently entering the intersection or the driver judging that it would be too dangerous to slam on the brakes.

Every light inspected had the same yellow light duration – approximately 3.8 seconds. And even more bizarrely, it didn’t make any difference whether the posted speed limit was 20, 25 or 35 MPH.

The chart below depicts the safe minimum duration of a yellow light given the distance and time it takes to stop a car without losing front end control or locking up the brakes.

10  14.7  22  27  3.0 
15  22.0  11  33  44  3.5 
20  29.3  19  44  63  4.0 
25  36.0  30  55  85  4.4 
30  44.0  43  66  109  4.9 
35  51.3  59  77  136  5.4 
40  58.7  76  88  164  5.9 
45  66.0  97  99  196  6.4 
50  73.3  119  110  229  6.9 
55  80.7  144  121  265  7.4 
60  88.0  172  132  304  7.9 

*Assuming a recognition and reaction time of +2 sec which is not uncommon for inexperienced and elderly drivers, and a controlled deceleration of 15 FPS which prevents loss of control or locking up the brakes. 

As can be seen, the timing of the city’s stoplights (~3.8 sec) is suitable only for a car driven somewhere around 17 MPH. I wonder how many of the 21,000 red light tickets issued last year could have been successfully contested in court given the flawed system in place? 

It’s apparent that the people at the DOT responsible for this fiasco are ignorant, incompetent or both.

Every stoplight in the city should be timed based on the chart above AS A MINIMUM, e.g. 4.9 sec for a 30 MPH road – not 3.8 sec. And if you want to make the roads safer, make it 5 sec or 5.5!

Also, one size does not fit all.  The light timing should be scaled based on the posted speed limit, or better yet, on customary usage.  No one drives 35 MPH on Kalanianaole.  Therefore, a little common sense is required with the application of, say, the 40 MPH timing of 5.9 sec.     

Give people the chance to safely stop by correcting the flaws in the system.

This proposed administrative rule should be scrapped until all traffic lights in the C&C are properly configured.

Best Regards,


Honolulu, Oahu

  *   *   *   *   *

How AG, BLNR Conspired to keep ‘Sustainability’ out of Aquarium Ruling

Dear Editor,  June 23, 2021

Regarding the Friday 6-25-21 Board of Land and Natural Resources Hearing: Hawaii’s aquarium fishery has had years of ocean user group conflict. Tour groups wanted all their dive sites to be untouched. Quickly tour groups took the best dive spots and 33% of West Hawaii was made into a ‘Fish Replenishment Area’ (FRA) were all but the aquarium fishers could go.  The fishery continued under DLNR management and Rules Package restrictions until a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling in 2017.

The Fishery has countered shut down legislation against the fishery in the past because Science and research did not support any of the opposition’s claims. Studies and many years of fish counts showed low impacts on corals, fishery stability and even fish population increases.  Every five years the West Hawaii Report to the legislature was done.

The HEPA environmental law legal suit was filed around 2015. Two lower courts ruled in favor of the fishery. Those decisions were appealed. In 2017 The Supreme Court over turned the lower court rulings and ruled that the Aquarium Fishery had to do a Environmental Impact Statement after all.

Neither science nor scientific fact was the determining factor for the ruling. It was based on biased opposition statements and law interpretation. We tried to submit scientific studies but the attorney general said it would not be good to do as the case rested on interpretation of the language in the legislative laws.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has a long history of high profile HEPA rulings like the Super Ferry and the TMT telescope.

In 2020 the Kona fishery submitted a FIES and it was rejected because the document said that the aquarium fishery was sustainable. Mainly we understood that the wording “Sustainable” was not what the Land Board wanted to see in an FEIS because future fishery regulations would be hard to do by DLNR if the fishery was on record as being sustainable. So it was denied. It did not matter that the fishery really is sustainable.

Before being sued the fishery was considered by DLNR as being a “Model Fishery” and sustainable by nearly all Hawaii researchers (see attachment). If so how could it be shut down?

Four years later and hundreds of thousands of dollars in Aquarium Fishery HEPA fees the West Hawaii fishery is back with FEIS (Final Impact Statement) competition. We can only hope that the Land Board gets it right this time and passes the West Hawaii FEIS.

Every fishery member and researcher who knows the truth about the fishery has experienced the unfair demoralizing frustration which was created by the poor decisions that have been made.  Hawaii needs sustainable renewable resource jobs.  Hawaii tourism is not sustainable and has the highest carbon footprint.

Ron Tubbs

Waimanalo, Oahu

UPDATE: Revised Final Environmental Impact Statement for W. Hawai‘i Aquarium Permits Reaches Impasse


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