Street sign vandalism is a potentially dangerous problem found all over the island.
The Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board wants to take action.
Residents say many of their street signs are either faded, plastered in stickers, or covered in graffiti.
“That’s a very dangerous situation. Obviously when people are driving, they can’t take their eyes off the road and peer at a sign when they’re driving by,” said neighborhood board chair Richard Turbin. “‘Hmm, what does that sign say? I can’t really read it. It’s graffiti-ed over.’ Boom! There’s a traffic accident because they’re distracted.
Turbin is an attorney by day. “That’s my business. I do traffic accident laws. I represent victims of traffic accidents. I know a large percentage of accidents are caused by distraction,” he said.
But the problem is proving hard to fix.
“The signs should be replaced,” said Turbin. “Of course what we heard from the city’s Department of Facility Maintenance is, ‘Well, we’re understaffed. We don’t have enough people to inspect the signs or replace them.’”
The city estimates up to 100 signs are damaged by vandals island-wide each year. In 2017, there were 65 service requests for graffiti on city streets signs.
“We’re going to continue to request the city take the responsibility seriously, especially when it has to do with safety,” said Turbin.
In a statement, Department of Facility Maintenance Director Ross Sasamura said:
“Vandalizing traffic signs is against the law and defacing them can have a serious impact on the safe movement of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Anyone who comes across an individual who is damaging a traffic sign should immediately call 911. Damaged signs or those that have been defaced can also be reported to the Department of Facility Maintenance Graffiti Hotline at 768-5180.”