Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Vision team pushed
asphalt sidewalks

Question: I have noticed around town a new sidewalk design that consists of concrete curbs with asphalt in the middle. Sites include on the Ewa side of Pensacola Street just below Nehoa Street in Makiki, and at Pamoa and Kolowalu streets in Manoa. I am concerned that over time the asphalt will decompose and create an uneven walking surface. Also, might this type of walking surface be more expensive to build and maintain than standard all-concrete sidewalks? How extensive a network of two-surface sidewalks is planned? And who approved the new design?

Answer: The "temporary asphalt walkways" are the result of requests by the neighborhood vision team, which wanted some kind of sidewalk, but not at the expense and time of getting more permanent concrete ones.

These walkways have a 12-inch-deep "concrete header that flushes up against the AC (asphalt concrete)," said Carol Costa, director of the city Department of Customer Services. As you described, there is concrete on either side of the asphalt.

Costa said there is no "network" of these asphalt/concrete walkways planned. Rather, "we have a handful of vision-funded temporary asphalt walkway projects either in or going in now."

The sidewalks were requested by the Makiki-McCully/Moiliili-Manoa Vision Team, primarily for safety reasons as well as to benefit "a lot more people that just the people in the immediate area," she said.

For example, the sidewalks put in near Kolowalu were meant to provide a safer pathway for Noelani School students.

Regular concrete sidewalks would have cost more money and taken longer to install, requiring the creation of an Improvement District.

They "would require all of the full roadway improvements to be cost shared (50-50) between the city and the property owner," Costa said. Such a project would involve "gutters and curbs and the drainage and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act requirements)."

She also emphasized that this was a community-initiated project, not one started by the city. We tried contacting two members of the vision team who were said to be instrumental in pushing for the hybrid sidewalks, but were unsuccessful.

"This is not considered a permanent project," Costa said of the asphalt/concrete sidewalks, "but that doesn't mean it will be replaced any time soon."

A total of $625,000 was allotted for sidewalks by the Makiki-McCully/Moiliili-Manoa Vision Team for 2001 and 2002, said Peter Radulovich, the city's coordinator of culture and the arts, who is the city's facilitator for the Makiki-McCully/Moiliili-Manoa Vision Team. That breaks down to $50,000 for Manoa and $575,000 for Makiki, he said.

Once the sidewalks are in, funding for repairs will come out of the operating budget for the city Department of Facility Maintenance.

The Department of Design and Construction does "not have any track record on this type of sidewalk so cannot say how they may stack up against regular sidewalks" in terms of repairs, Costa said.


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