Navy set to transfer roads at Kalaeloa
By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Transportation Writer
Ever since the Navy handed over control of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station (now known as Kalaeloa) to the state and city in 1999, public access has transformed the base's main road of Roosevelt Avenue into Roosevelt "Highway."
William Bass, executive director of the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission housed at the former base, guesses traffic along the three-mile stretch of Roosevelt Avenue has tripled since the base opened to the public.
Many 'Ewa residents use it as a shortcut to reach the H-1 Freeway or Kapolei by bypassing Fort Weaver Road and its 11 traffic signals.
"If it wasn't for some courteous drivers, we wouldn't be able to make a left turn on Roosevelt Avenue," Bass said half-jokingly.
By next month, Bass said, the Navy will transfer control of the roads to the redevelopment commission, which will then hand it over to the state and city.
Because the redevelopment commission has limited funding, Bass said it cannot afford to maintain the roads.
"We were given about $100,000 in funding to do some minor road repairs," Bass said. "We did some restriping and trimmed back some tree branches hanging over the road, but that was all we could afford."
Q: Which Kalaeloa roads will be handed over to the state and city?
A: According to the joint agreement, the state will get control of the four base perimeter roads of Enterprise and Roosevelt avenues and Coral Sea and Saratoga streets.
The city will get the interior roads of Lexington, Midway, Saratoga, Shangrila and Tripoli streets; Copahee and Hornet avenues; and Boxer and Independence roads.
Q: Who will be in charge of improving or maintaining the roads?
A: The state will initially take all of the roads listed above and make improvements when money is available, before handing over the city-designated ones, Bass said.
Q: Wasn't there a debate over changing the military street names at Kalaeloa to Hawaiian names?
A: Many of the streets at the former base are named in honor of military veterans, ships and battles. A city ordinance requires all new street names on O'ahu be Hawaiian, but military veterans strongly opposed the move for the former Barbers Point. City attorneys determined that the law did not apply to Kalaeloa, and that new or realigned streets built would have Hawaiian names, Bass said.
Scott Ishikawa writes about transportation issues. You can call him at 525-8070 , write him at The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802 or e-mail email@example.com.