Resolution reached between City and Kokonut Koalition for Koko Crater safety mitigation
Three-phase effort includes immediate safety improvements with removal, replacement of steel platform to be addressed in separate project
News Release from Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation, March 17, 2021
O‘AHU – Following discussions between the City and County of Honolulu, City Council Chair Tommy Waters, and the volunteer group Kokonut Koalition, a resolution has been reached on how to address safety concerns atop Koko Crater.
“I’m proud of our teams in the Parks & Recreation and Design & Construction departments for taking the time to listen to tramway users, and the Kokonut Koalition, to find a pathway moving forward where all parties are in agreement,” said Mayor Rick Blandgiardi. “Safety is always our top priority, but we must also be aware of how our public facilities impact the community. There is no doubt that this hike is growing in popularity, so having good partnerships that can help us deal with perpetual maintenance is very helpful.”
“I really want to thank David Nixon and the other members of the Kokonut Koalition who continue to demonstrate their passionate advocacy for the Koko Crater Stairs,” said City Council Chair Tommy Waters. “I also want to extend a warm mahalo to Mayor Blangiardi, DPR Director Laura H. Thielen, and DDC Director Alexander Kozlov, who have all demonstrated flexibility and a keen desire to work with community stakeholders. With this mutual understanding reached, we can continue to dedicate ourselves towards restoring the Stairs for future generations.”
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to post their reactions, write their representatives, and city officials,” said Kokonut Koalition President David Nixon. “We’re doing this whole thing together. That same unobstructed 360-degree view we’ve enjoyed at the end of the brutal hike up the stairs is going to remain a part of the Koko Crater experience for you, your kids, and their kids through this resolution with the City to rebuild rather than simply remove the platform.”
The agreement involves breaking up the previously approved Capital Improvement Project into three phases:
Phase 1: Proceed with the majority of the safety mitigation efforts without removal of the steel platform, including:
Removal of debris from tunnels and shafts
Sealing the shafts, vents, and tunnels
Installing signs at the summit, steel platform, and tramway trestle to warn visitors of the conditions
The project was originally scheduled to begin on Monday, March 29, and take approximately three weeks to complete. However, due to the recent change in scope this schedule is being re-evaluated. We will provide updates to the public as they become available, including details on the closures for the summit, tramway, and adjacent park facilities.
Phase 2: Conduct a separate project to remove the existing steel platform, and replace that structure with a safe viewing area designed to support foot traffic for enjoyment of the panoramic view. Because of the short-term nature of this project, the specific design of the new viewing platform would not be open for public comment, but would focus on safe access and the intended purpose of providing ample space for enjoyment of the view. The anticipated timeframe for the implementation of this project is in the 12 to 18-month range.
Phase 3: Continue the investigation into a long-term solution for future management and maintenance of the tramway and summit to support public use for decades to come.
Further updates on the progress of these phases will be provided as they become available. Mahalo to all of the vested parties who worked hard to reach this agreement. Stay healthy.