Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, February 26, 1999

A crosswalk can create
false sense of security

We need a crosswalk at Paleka Road and Kapunahala Street because a lot of children pass by there and there is a lot of traffic. Can you help?

The city Department of Transportation Services checked the area and concluded a crosswalk there would be more detrimental than helpful.

Using your case as an example, we asked DTS director Cheryl Soon to explain the procedure for installing a marked crosswalk.

She said crosswalks are usually marked in conjunction with traffic signals "to enhance pedestrian safety and minimize liability concerns."

Unfortunately, she said, marked crossings tend to give some pedestrians a false sense of security, thinking "the markings are a physical barrier which will shield them from oncoming vehicles," she said.

DTS's position is that unmarked crossings are safer for pedestrians at the location you mentioned "as the burden of crossing safely is on pedestrians."

Also, Soon said field checks, plus a review of police accident records over the past two years showed only one minor traffic incident on Anoi Road, which occurred about six months ago.

"This suggests that the intersection of Kapunahala and Paleka Road is relatively safe and that the existing traffic controls are adequate," Soon said.


For many months, I've seen the palm trees around the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon slowly dying. About 26 trees have been cut down and more are dying, apparently of a disease. Is anyone doing anything to prevent the disease from spreading or are they going to plant new trees?

The land is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which confirmed the trees have been dying over the past few years.

DLNR has had a maintenance agreement with the Hilton Hawaiian Village dating back to about 1955, in which the hotel has been responsible for landscaping and maintaining the area, said DLNR spokeswoman Debra Ward.

"After the heads dropped off and some trunks began rotting, it was just decided to cut them down," she said. A University of Hawaii specialist was brought in to assess the situation, but couldn't determine what was causing the trees to die.

"It could have been stress, it could have been vandalism," Ward said.

It's up to the Hilton to decide what to do, she said.

The Hilton will be replanting palm trees, although there is no definite timetable yet, said HHV spokeswoman Bernie Caalim.


About six or eight years ago, Hawaiian Electric Co. had a big power outage. I filed a claim and recall they offered me a settlement, which I declined to accept. I never heard back from them. What is the status of our claim?

HECO records show you filed a $235 claim for food spoilage as a result of the April 1, 1991, power outage, said spokesman Fred Kobashikawa.

Although the Public Utilities Commission has an "open document" on that outage, it basically has said it cannot make a conclusive determination as to whether HECO can be held liable for the blackout, Kobashikawa said. The incident is "not under active review," he said.

HECO did offer you a compromise settlement of $150 in May 1994, and asked for a response within one month, he said. "Our records show no response within that time frame," he said. "As a result, the offer expired."

Kobashikawa suggested calling HECO's Risk Management Department at 543-4621 to follow up. Other customers with similar questions should also call that number, Kobashikawa said.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

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