Honolulu rail changes may wipe out Ualena Street shops - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu rail changes may wipe out Ualena Street shops

Val Cisneros Val Cisneros
Bobby Miyano Bobby Miyano

By Holly Juscen – bio | email 

It's bad news for businesses along Ualena street as many owners learn the change in the rail project will force them to either close their door or relocate, "I got no choice basically, I don't know if I have enough money to relocate," says Val Cisneros of  Elite Auto Group

The city announced Thursday they have found a way to avoid building the rail too close to the runways at Honolulu International Airport, but the fix requires relocation of a rail station to the corner of Ualena Street and Lagoon Drive which will ultimately change the route. Now some businesses along the makai side of Ualena will be wiped out, "maybe it's time to retire. I'm not sure," says Bobby Miyano of B & B Automotives.

Miyano's automotive shop has been in business for 32 years. The shop is located right where the new rail station will be built. The state purchased that land back in the early 1990's for an airport expansion that never happened. Miyano says it's a shame their shop will be demolished, "we are getting a pretty good rent here, I don't think i can get this anywhere else."

Val Cisneros's Elite Auto Body Shop is located on the mauka side of Ualena Street, and it's still uncertain if his shop will be forced to close. He says either way, he opposes the $5.3 billion dollar project, "the higher ups feel this is something necessary their going to do it, they are going to find out it's a flop in years to come, it will be just like the Superferry."

The city says the change in the rail project around the airport will only affect six private parcels in the area. More details will be revealed when the final environmental impact statement is complete.

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