Removed trees outgrew convention center boxes


POSTED: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Question: Why have the palm trees been cut down on the Ala Wai side of the Convention Center? This is the area where the stairs lead up to the convention center. It appears that all the plantings are also being removed. The palm trees did not appear to have a disease or were dying. The loss of the beautiful palm trees is sad.

Answer: The 16 coconut palms were taken down because they had outgrown the planter boxes, said Randy Tanaka, assistant general manager for the Hawaii Convention Center.

The trees had been there since the center opened in 1998.

But as the trees grew, there were leaks in the boxes and root issues, Tanaka said. It became both a structural and safety issue, he said.

The planter boxes are being cleaned and will be re-waterproofed and will eventually hold new palms “;that aren't as aggressive with their growth,”; he said.

Unfortunately, the old trees could not be saved, based on the assessment and recommendation of an arborist, Tanaka said.

This definitely was not the same situation as a few years ago (Kokua Line, Oct. 15, 2006), when maintenance workers for the center basically drastically cut a half dozen ficus Benjamina (banyan) trees without permission from the city.

Those trees were on the city's Exceptional Trees List.

The convention center took full responsibility for the illegal prunings and for costs to restore the trees.

Question: How do I get in touch with the state Department of Transportation's Freeway Service Patrol?

Answer: If your vehicle breaks down along the H-1 or Moanalua freeways, call 841-HELP (841-4357) or stay in your vehicle until a Freeway Service Patrol tow truck arrives.

The patrol will be able to provide free help, but only from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, except holidays.

Many people would probably want to provide a tip, but according to the Freeway Service Patrol Web site—fsphawaii.com—“;drivers are not allowed to receive payment or tips at any time.”;

Motorists are advised to call 911 for accidents and other types of roadside emergencies that would require police, fire or paramedic assistance.

The Freeway Service Patrol is a $3.9 million, two-year pilot program funded 90 percent by the federal government. The rest—$390,000—is funded by the Department of Transportation.

The patrol is operated by Telvent Farradyne Inc., headquartered in Rockville, Md., in partnership with Island Wide Towing. Telvent provides similar service in other states.

The Oahu patrol, which began in mid-June, covers a 10.4-mile stretch of the H-1 (between the H-1/H-2 interchange and the Likelike Highway offramp) and along the entire 4.8-mile route of Moanalua Freeway (between the Halawa Interchange and Middle Street).

These sections are said to have the highest traffic volumes and the greatest potential for stalled vehicles and/or accidents.

Among the services provided: changing flat tires; jump-starting a dead battery; refilling radiators; making temporary repairs; providing a gallon of gas (but not diesel); and towing.

If you want more information about the service, contact the Transportation Department's Public Affairs Office at 587-2160 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


To the nurses and doctors at Kaiser hospital for the excellent services and care during my illness.—Frances Yee, Room 427