Tax Payers Foot The Bill For Hawaii Kai Median Blunder

HAWAI'I KAI (KHNL)- Some businesses and a church, along with many Hawaii Kai residents, are happy the city will finally remove part of a landscaped median on Lunalilo Home Road, because they say it blocks easy access to driveways near Kaumakani Street.

The median went up in December 2003. The city rejected several earlier requests to shorten the median as it was being built.

City Councilman Charles Djou pushed for the change by including $50,000 in the city budget to chop 20 to 30 feet off the end of the median at the north side of the intersection of Lunalilo Home Road and Kaumakani Street. That would push the cost of the median strip for planning, design and construction past $1.2 million.

The tree-lined median, which runs from Kalaniana'ole Highway to Kalakua Street and allows for U-turns along its length, but not in front of the businesses demanding the modification.

Affected by the median is Hawai'i Kai Christian Church, Hawaii National Bank, several offices and the Koko Marina 76 gas station. At the time the median was built, the businesses had asked the city to push it back so residents wouldn't have to drive out of their way to get to turn into their driveways and get out of the businesses. The city flatly refused because it felt the businesses had sufficient access about 200 feet down the road for the bank and the residents could get to the church by cutting through a neighborhood.

The city pushed for the median strip, saying it will improve the look of an arid and older section of the community and will reduce speeding. Residents complained that the median will increase traffic congestion because there is one less lane.

This median strip is just one of several the city has installed around the island: Kailua Road, Hunakai Street in Kahala, and along Ala Moana, Punchbowl Street and Sand Island Access Road.