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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hawaii Kai gets chance to speak out on lighting plans

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser
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What: The city will hold a meeting to discuss a Lunalilo Home Road lighting project. The mayor will make opening remarks and residents will get a chance to sound off.

When: 5:30-7 p.m. today

Where: Koko Head District Park gymnasium

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The mayor will address Hawai'i Kai residents tonight on a controversial lighting project for Lunalilo Home Road, which will triple the number of street lights along a 1 1/2-mile stretch of the thoroughfare.

Some residents have protested the $2 million project, which is the first phase of a three-phase plan to install new lighting in the community.

They argue that the lighting is overkill for streets that are largely residential.

"We really feel that it's going to place commercial zone lighting in a residential area," said Greg Knudsen, chairman of the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board. "We question the need for it."

But the city says the work is necessary because of the age of the existing street lights on Lunalilo Home Road and the number of cars that travel the thoroughfare.

Collins Lam, deputy director of the city Department of Design and Construction, said a traffic study found that Lunalilo Home Road sees about 1,200 cars per hour during peak hours.

"These lights are 40 years old," Lam said. "Forty years ago, the traffic was different."

The project will replace 48 existing street lights on Lunalilo Home Road, and add 96 new street lights. The project area extends along Lunalilo Home Road from Kalaniana'ole Highway to Koamano Street.

Lam said the project follows national lighting standards.

He also said the 48 existing street lights have deteriorated beyond repair.

The Lunalilo Home Road project started this summer, but Lam said the meeting tonight is aimed at hearing concerns from residents and brainstorming ideas for ensuring that homeowners aren't disturbed by the increased street lighting.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann will open the meeting, and a presentation on the lighting project will follow. Residents will get a chance to sound off at the end of the meeting.

The lighting project under way is set to wrap up at the end of the year.

The second phase of the project will cost $570,000 and will install 21 new street lights and replace 11 existing ones on Lunalilo Home Road from Koamano Street to Hawai'i Kai Drive.

That phase is expected to be completed in spring 2010.

The third phase of the project has not yet been put out to bid, but is designed to improve lighting along Hawai'i Kai Drive. It's expected to cost about $4 million.