City will soon take over embattled private roadway in Diamond Head
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city will reportedly take over a private roadway in Waikiki that’s been the source of headaches for some residents — who say the owner’s “improvements” were anything but.
The owner of Leahi Avenue says the city will take over the road Aug. 22.
The Diamond Head road runs along homes, apartments and Waikiki Elementary School, and is currently owned by Safe Leahi and managed by Mary Jones, of Waikiki.
“The city acquiring Leahi Avenue is a victory — a victory most of us didn’t think was possible,” said Jones.
“I am very pleased and look forward to the city using its resources to bring the road up to code, especially having sidewalks.”
Private management of the avenue has stirred controversy in the neighborhood as some residents said changes to the road created safety hazards.
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The owner installed paid parking stalls on the ewa side of Leahi Avenue — between Monsarrat Avenue and Noela Drive — in what she called an effort to reduce speeding and clear sidewalks of vehicles.
“It is a problem because a lot of the buildings don’t have 100% parking we have 40 apartments and only 30 parking spaces,” said Neighborhood Board Member Laura St. Denis.
“During school hours, you can’t get in or out of any of these streets like they tried to make it one way,” said Anne Deucher of Waikiki. “So, maybe taking away some of those parking stalls that’s by the school.”
Arleen Velasco of Waikiki said having limited parking in the area is impacting those with a plot at the Diamond Head Community Garden.
“We have a lot of seniors who supplement their diet with their garden and so they come here, and most of them don’t live nearby or they have limited mobility,” said Velasco. “Now they they have to park far away and I’ve seen some of them park illegally and across the street, that’s all they can find.”
“So it’s not safe for them.”
While the city is taking over control of the street later this month, full ownership of the roadway is a lengthy process with no listed target date.
“I’m thrilled that this city is taking control,” said Velasco.
The city Department of Transportation Services says it intends to restore Leahi Avenue to how it was before 2020. The changes still need to be scheduled by the city Department of Facilities Maintenance.
The city says the community will be notified before any changes are made.
Residents say they would like to see sidewalks and speed bumps.
“They go bombing down the street, not 15 miles an hour, not even 25,” said St. Denis. “They’re probably going over 35, I want something to slow them down.”
“I could see the the people wanting to put a stop sign right here at the intersection of Puulei and Leahi,” said Velasco. “I can see that being a good idea.”
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