Residents want improvements on Leahi Avenue, but who owns it?
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - For years, residents have wanted safety improvements for years on this stretch of Leahi Avenue between Monsarrat Avenue and Noela Street, just mauka of Kapiolani Park. But there's one major problem. No one knows who actually owns this stretch of roadway
"There's nothing over there to walk on, and there's cars, double-parked, right on this side. So you're really in the road, most significantly right here," said area resident Mary Jones as she walked along Leahi Avenue near Pualei Circle.
Jones is concerned that this stretch of Leahi Avenue has no sidewalks, except for a small stretch behind Paki Hale. And pedestrians -- especially parents with young children -- end up in the roadway with vehicles going by at 25 miles per hour -- or more. And Waikiki Elementary School is on the corner of Leahi and Montsarrat, meaning many children end up walking to school on the roadway.
She wants to see some needed safety improvements. "A center line, shoulder areas, reduced speed limit, school zone signage with blinking lights, preferably."
What did she hear from the city? "Their response was that this was a private road, and there was nothing they could do aside from fill potholes."
The city couldn't even tell her who owns the road.
Jones started a Web site, SafeLeahi.org, that shows the research she started two years ago, with documents leading all the way back to the late 1800's. Even so, she still hasn't been able to positively identify an owner.
Jones has also spoken to the Diamond Head neighborhood board about the matter. Board members say there may be more than one owner:
"I do see where it can happen, but it's going to take a while to identify all the moving parts and see where it can all get together," said neighborhood board member Linda Wong. She added that there is a process that was approved last year that may allow the city to condemn the street and take it over, but it's a process that will still take some time if it's used.
Even so, Wong believes something will happen.
""Before, people parking their cars on Leahi usually just had the final say. But now there's more newer, younger families that want sidewalks for their kids going to school."
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