Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, November 15, 2001

City lenient on plantings
in grassy sidewalk areas

Question: On the makai side of the Lanikai loop, many of the property owners have done extensive landscaping to the grassy sidewalk area, including planting palm trees and installing sprinklers. Why is this allowed? Aren't these public areas? I suspect they've done this to prevent cars from parking, but where else are people going to park if they want to go to the beach?

Answer: Your question brings up an interesting situation.

On one hand, a city ordinance says homeowners, who are responsible for maintaining public sidewalk areas abutting their properties, are not supposed to plant anything besides grass in such areas without prior approval from the city.

However, even if there are plantings in those public right-of-ways, if there is "ample area for people to walk and unless it's a hazard, we don't take any action," said William Deering, chief of the Housing Code Section.

That is the case along Mokulua Drive in Lanikai, he said.

Meanwhile, although people in many neighborhoods routinely park along the grassy areas, those areas are considered unimproved sidewalks, and vehicles are "not supposed to park there anyway," Deering noted.

Those cases may also come down to whether a vehicle is blocking the entire area or whether there is room for people to walk. In any case, enforcement of that law is with police, Deering said.

Q: I ride my bike often (and walk, too) on bike paths and was wondering about who should have the right-of-way -- bicyclists or walkers? People often walk two abreast on the bike path, forcing bicyclists to wait for a traffic opening to go around them. If it's a designated bike path, shouldn't they move to the side, or do pedestrians have the right-of-way at all times?

A: There is no city ordinance dealing directly with this question. However, the rule of thumb is that the "slower-moving traffic always has the right-of-way, just as cars are supposed to yield to bicycles, although in real practice, it doesn't always work that way," said Chris Sayers, the city's bicycle coordinator.

On sidewalks where bikes are allowed, the law is that "they must yield to pedestrians," he said. Likewise, since pedestrians are allowed to walk in bike paths, "bicycles should yield to pedestrians, always."

That said, common sense and courtesies in sharing pathways would probably go a long way in making getting about more enjoyable for everyone.


To the city folks responsible for making the Maunalani bus terminus improved -- bench, covering, etc. It's often a long wait for the next bus. They also put in a much-needed refuse can so folks won't litter there. The problem is that it seems that it's nobody's job to empty the can, overflowing with bagged dog droppings, rotting food scraps, etc. Please pass the word on to include emptying this can in somebody's job description, please. -- J. Wylie

(Readers, you can pass similar complaints on to the city Department of Customer Services.)


At 1 p.m. Oct. 26, while headed into Haleiwa approaching the traffic light, a woman driving a white van crossed the solid line and passed, flashing her dirty finger. Because what goes around comes around, you're going to get "bachi" for what you did. -- North Shore Person

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