Waikiki residents rally
against project

Hannemann and Bainum speak out
against the roadwork on Ala Wai

Waikiki residents stepped up their campaign yesterday to halt a $2.4 million Ala Wai Boulevard project with support from Honolulu's top mayoral candidates.

"We want the project to stop," said Robert Kessler, who heads a group of Waikiki residents opposed to the project. "Ask them to stop."

Kessler is seeking a temporary restraining order against the city to halt the project. Circuit Judge Eden Hifo is set to hear the case Aug. 24, he said.

More than 50 residents attended the gathering at the Waikiki Community Center yesterday, just one day after the state Environmental Council voted to recommend to the city that the Ala Wai project undergo an environmental assessment.

But the city is not obligated to follow the council's recommendation, and has ignored its advice in the past.

The council never weighed in initially on whether an assessment was needed for the Ala Wai work because the city exempted itself from the process, a common practice for small projects.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa has said the project did not require an environmental assessment because no traffic lanes are affected.

Kessler said city officials were invited to yesterday's meeting, but none attended.

Mayoral candidates Duke Bainum and Mufi Hannemann were at the forum, and both backed the residents and shared their concerns.

"When I look at this project, I see a lot of losses," Bainum said. "We're going to lose parking. We're going to lose a lane of traffic."

Hannemann, who arrived after Bainum left, said the plan ignored the community.

"We're spending too much time and money on 'nice-to-have' projects, rather than 'need-to-have' projects," he said. "Mayor Harris, if you're listening ... bring this senseless spending to an end."

The project, which includes installation of a bike lane and the removal of about 60 free parking spaces along the Ala Wai Canal, extends from the Waikiki-Kapahulu Public Library to about 110 feet before the McCully Street bridge.

"Is there something the community can do?" asked resident Lisa McLennan, who attended yesterday's meeting. "It's ridiculous. ... It's against the community's interests."

Residents scheduled sign wavings and pledged to step up their protest in the coming week.

Kessler said residents opposed to the project will be waving signs at the intersection of Ala Wai Boulevard and Paoakalani Avenue on Monday from 7:45 to 9 a.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.



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