Tuesday, May 29, 2001
The new construction along Punchbowl Street, a commuting corridor for thousands of cars, will create a wider street at the possible expense of the sidewalk. It's interesting to compare the stretch of Punchbowl near the state Department of Health and The Queens Hospital, which has wide sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly streetlights and buried utility lines being installed, and the short stretch behind the Pacific Club, which may have none of the above when it's completed.
I live in Kailua, where falling utility poles are a way of life. The removal of exposed utility lines makes a tremendous difference in the visual well-being of any major city. There's nothing technologically difficult about burying such lines and disposing of utility poles; communities like Manoa have been doing it since the 1920s. It's a matter of paying attention to urban aesthetics instead of the bottom line.
Whenever possible in any city, state or federal building project, utilities should be buried underground, or existing utilities transferred underground. A tax incentive should be provided to private industry to do the same. The payoff is a reduction in visual clutter and a more pleasant city to live in.