Safety has HECO guards stop Cooke Street traffic


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Question: On Cooke Street, Hawaiian Electric Co.'s driveway on the makai side of the Tesoro gas station is staffed by HECO guards. I often notice the guards will stop traffic in both directions to allow vehicles to turn into their driveway. It does not matter whether they are making a left or right turn into the driveway, the guards will always walk out to the middle of the road and hold up a stop sign to block oncoming traffic. This seems to be a dangerous practice and causes more traffic on an already congested street. Why is this allowed? Isn't the vehicle making a left turn into the driveway responsible for yielding to oncoming traffic?

Answer: The Honolulu Police Department says HECO does not need a permit or special permission to stop or direct traffic there, considering the situation the same as refuse workers stopping traffic to maneuver their trucks or pick up trash.

HECO says the security guards are posted at the Cooke Street gate to help the traffic flow, as well as to ensure the safety of the public, employees, crews and visitors.

This situation stems from work to replace the foundation concrete at HECO's Archer Street gate, off King Street near KITV.

That gate to HECO's Ward Avenue facility has been closed since May 28 and will remain closed until the end of July, said spokesman Peter Rosegg.

“;All traffic patterns should return to normal by early August,”; he said.

Two other gates are being used temporarily until then.

Large vehicles and work trucks must enter and exit via the Clayton Street gate off Kapiolani Boulevard, next to the Mercedes car dealership, Rosegg said.

Small vehicles and employees must enter and exit via the Cooke Street gate. However, those exiting between 3 and 5 p.m. weekdays are asked to use the Clayton Street exit behind Yanagi Sushi.

The Cooke Street gate had been closed since 2001, Rosegg said. Before that closure, “;it was the scene of several near accidents, as a warehouse, masonry and fences make a blind spot for both exiting vehicles and vehicles transiting this short block,”; he said.

Rosegg also explained that private security guards, instead of police officers, were hired because the demands on police could not assure their availability for HECO's schedule.

The guards are at the gate from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosegg said those guards are trained and supervised by HECO personnel, including five retired HPD officers with more than 150 years of experience among them.

“;Given the layout of the gate and the street, there is no way to direct the flow of traffic without the officers stepping into the street,”; he said. “;The security officers are careful to ensure their own safety as well as that of the public and Hawaiian Electric personnel.”;

Question: I would appreciate a list of all hurricane shelters on Oahu (”;Kokua Line,”; June 20). I do not own a computer and rely on the old-fashioned system. Can you help me get a list?

Answer: Just call Hawaii State Civil Defense at 733-4300 and ask for a copy of the most current listing to be mailed to you. The list of shelters is continually being updated, said spokesman Ray Lovell.

The most current list can be found on the State Civil Defense Web site, http://www.scd.hawaii.gov.


Write to “;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).