Hawaii Kai residents livid over street lights

Natalie Iwasa
Natalie Iwasa
Mayor Mufi Hannemann
Mayor Mufi Hannemann

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) - A heated Hawaii Kai community gets loud over city street lights.  It says a simple project to repair and replace a street lighting system has gotten ridiculous and does more harm than good.

Residents are angry and agitated because they believe they were left completely out of the project's planning. The city did make some of their suggested changes, but some say that's not enough.

"They did this job kind of hodge podge," said Hawaii Kai resident Natalie Iwasa.

It's a battle of the bulbs.

"Street light that's right over a canopy of a tree," said Iwasa.

A fluorescent fiasco.

"A poll was put less that two feet from a fire hydrant. It looks like a raceway here," said Iwasa.

Natalie Iwasa says she's livid over street lamps.

"A lot of light goes out to the side."

Residents say the city installed nearly triple the normal amount of high-watt lights along Lunalilo Home Road. The city says nearly 1,200 cars use it at peak evening time, Iwasa says 'yeah right'.

"They took a major roadway connector and turned it into a commercial roadway," says Iwasa.

The city has about 800 improvement projects a year and didn't think this one was a big deal. That is, until the concerned community started writing in. So, Mayor Mufi Hannemann showed up to cool things down.

The mayor says he's now switching to the cheaper, lower wattage flat shape lamps and will defer proceeding forward with the project from Wailua Street to Hawaii Kai Drive, but work on Lunalilo Home Road will continue.

"Let's see how this portion goes. If you like it the doors open to go the rest of Lunalilo Home Road," said Hannemann.

Iwasa says the changes are a start, but they aren't enough.

"They gave this community and ultimatum. Either you go through with the project now or you don't do it and we'll do it when it falls apart. To us, that's not acceptable."

The project is estimated at $6.5 million. Residents say that money is better spent on communities like Kalihi or Chinatown that have already publicly pleaded for more lights.