Unfinished sidewalk project frustrates Kalihi neighborhood

Donald Gomes
Donald Gomes

By Leland Kim - bio | email

KALIHI VALLEY (KHNL) - An unfinished sidewalk project in Kalihi Valley has neighbors feeling a bit neglected. It's been unfinished for more than a decade.

Donald Gomes cleans up the front of his house, something he's done for more than 70 years.

In the mid-1990s, the city came to put sidewalks on Nihi Street, but stopped short of his property.

"We have to maintain our own, clean our own grass like that," said Gomes, 74, who has lived in Kalihi Valley his entire life.

Besides that, it's also a safety hazard. The ledge where the sidewalk ends drops off almost a foot, making it dangerous for pedestrians, especially those with wheelchairs and strollers.

"A lot of children pass through here and working people in the morning like that," said Gomes, "You see how jagged like this? You can kick it and fall over, you know."

Fast cars also make this stretch dangerous. Drivers often blow through stop signs.

"These cars never stop," said Gomes. "See look, there. They never stop, never. Ninety-five percent never stop."

The sidewalk project along Nihi Street was broken down into three phases.

The first and third segments were completed, but the second phase hasn't been touched since 1995. That's because this s-curve is quite narrow, and to build a sidewalk up to code, these homeowners would have to give up a portion of their property.

Some are willing, but it may be impossible for others, whose houses are right up on the property line. Still, homeowners hope for a miracle solution.

"It's very dangerous like this," said Gomes. "I think they should finish it."

Neighbors are planning to meet Friday evening to talk about the sidewalk. It's at Our Lady of the Mount Parish Hall and it starts at 6 pm. A representative from Councilmember Rod Tam's office plans to attend.