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Lunalilo Home Road lighting plan unveiled


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POSTED: Friday, September 18, 2009

Mayor Mufi Hannemann issued a compromise to Hawaii Kai residents yesterday, appeasing some of their objections to a street lighting project.

At a town hall meeting, the city unveiled a revised plan for brighter lighting along Lunalilo Home Road. Hannemann said the city will finish replacing and adding street lights on Lunalilo Home Road up to Wailua Street. But then the project will stop, and the city will not replace street lights on other portions of Lunalilo Home Road, Hawaii Kai Drive and Keahole and Wailua streets.

City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell said the project was considered a maintenance project, which usually does not require consultation with residents.

The lighting, designed in the 1960s, has fallen into disrepair. Before construction a study found traffic on Lunalilo Home Road had grown to 1,200 cars an hour, which, under federal standards, requires brighter lighting.

Hannemann told the crowd of about 50 that while money for the repairs is available now, he will hold off on finishing the repairs because of the community concerns. But he warned residents that the money could be spent elsewhere and the repairs might not be completed.

Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Chairman Greg Knudsen said it is better to stop the unwanted lighting plan until there is an alternative that the community supports.

Residents complained about “;overkill”; and light pollution, increased energy costs and a glaring traffic corridor in a residential area. The project would have replaced street lights, currently 300 feet apart, with brighter lights 100 feet apart.

“;We want the repairs. We just don't want three times as much light,”; Knudsen said.

The city also promised to use 100-watt “;flat”; lighting that points downward instead of 150-watt lighting, saving $63 per light a year, and trim trees to maximize lighting.