Signage facing the opposite direction on one-way Punchbowl Street and removed planters were remnants yesterday of Jeremy Harris' now-defunct plans for the area.

Mayor uprooting
old plan for

Former Mayor Harris' planters
and trees are being removed

Planters and trees recently placed on Punchbowl Street as part of a $1.45-million city contract are being removed and new Mayor Mufi Hannemann is canceling plans to open more of the road to two-way traffic.

Construction started last summer on former Mayor Jeremy Harris' plan to beautify the street and create mauka-bound lanes on Punchbowl between Ala Moana and King Street.


Punchbowl south of King Street is currently a one-way street going makai.

Eight planters and trees were put in and parking spaces removed.

Traffic signals were relocated, islands on Queen and Halekauwila streets were cut back, and road signs for mauka-bound traffic were installed.

Much of the work, except for $350,000 to repave the street, had been completed just as Harris left office in January.

After Harris left, the city departments of facilities maintenance, transportation and design and construction recommended that Hannemann reconsider the project and remove what had been put in, said city spokesman Bill Brennan.

"They should have never done this in the first place," Brennan said. "This is a bad idea left over from the last administration."

He said there were concerns about the cost of maintaining the trees, street cleaning and the loss of valuable downtown parking spaces.

Marvin Char, the chief of the civil division of the city Department of Design and Construction, said it was feared the roots of the trees could damage the asphalt, street drainage and underground utilities.

The planters also made it more difficult to clean the street.

Char said concerns about the trees and two-way traffic were brought up to the previous administration, but he said a "policy decision" was made to go ahead with the project.

A city study also showed two-way traffic on Punchbowl would work, Char said.

The trees were removed last week, Brennan said. The D-shaped planters will be removed this weekend, opening up about eight parking spaces again.

Brennan said there is still money remaining in the $1.45 million contract, so removing the trees and the planters will not require additional funds.

The last phase of the project, repaving Punchbowl Street, will begin at the end of this month or the beginning of April, Brennan said.

"When we repave the road, we don't want those planters in the way," Brennan said.

As part of that project, a mid-block crosswalk in front of the state Department of Transportation will be removed.

Several people who work in the area supported Hannemann's decision.

Eva Gloriani, who works at the Transportation Department, laughed when she heard the city was removing the trees and planters.

"We just thought that planting the trees was so stupid," she said.

When told of the $1.45-million price tag, Gloriani replied, "I don't know what to say any more."

Frances Lee, another state worker, said it's important for the public to be able to have a place to park on the street when they come down to the area to conduct state business. "Parking is such a premium here," she said.

City & County of Honolulu

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