Sunday, January 14, 2001
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Posted on: Sunday, January 14, 2001

Roadwork perdition persists into 2001

By Bob Krauss
Advertiser Columnist

Imagine my surprise after putting 2000 safely in moth balls when I read that the Year of Street Repair isn’t over yet. It will roll merrily along Kalanianaole Highway.

This year may be worse. I pulled out of my driveway after the new year to find that the street in front of my condo was closed to fix a water main.

At a red light, a University of Hawaii art professor pulled up, rolled down his window and shouted, "Have you ever seen anything like this? I hear the campus will be torn up through the millennium."

Last year, as you remember, they booby-trapped the freeways. I set out one day to pick up a parcel on Pensacola Street and found the Lunalilo off-ramp barricaded by orange cones.

The postage-stamp-sized Pensacola post office is tucked away under the H-1 freeway with only one entrance. That’s on Lunalilo Street, which was blocked off.

I decided to go in by the exit on Pensacola Street. But by that time, I was caught in a stream of traffic on the way to Waianae.

Frankly, the tangle of streets below Punchbowl have always confused me, being designed by a mad scientist. If I start for the National Cemetery, I end up at the old sake brewery in Pahoa Valley.

This time I took the scenic tour of Papakolea Hawaiian Homesteads before I found my way back to Pensacola Street and the back entrance to the post office.

For me, the biggest headache was Kapiolani Boulevard, my route to work. One morning, decorative signs on the curb announced, "Road Work Ahead."

As the line of cars crept along, gapping chasms appeared in the roadway. An archaeological dig in the interests of historical preservation? No, just a leaky sewer system.

The next day I put my nimble brain to work. Why wait in line? I briskly turned off Kapiolani onto Houghtailing, blazing a new trail to Beretania Street that would take me straight into town via Date and Isenberg Streets.

Guess what? They had Date Street blocked off.

It strikes me that, while we are at it, why not do something about the street lights for pedestrians downtown? The worst insult to people on foot is in plain sight of City Hall at the intersection of King and Punchbowl Streets.

To accommodate cars, pedestrians have to wait at a red light that blinks on too soon even though it’s safe to walk so long as traffic flows in the same direction.

Another absurdity downtown is the buttons pedestrians have to push to get a walk light. Who ever heard of a motorist pushing a button to cross an intersection?

Doesn’t equal rights extend to pedestrians?

Oh well, look on the bright side. The Decade of the Building Crane in the 1960s that got us in this fix was just as bad.

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