Background: Architect with 35+ years of practice on the central coast of California, not a large population compared to Honolulu but we have traveled extensively over those 35 years and have stayed in high density cities i.e. Paris, London, Toronto, New York, Belaggio, Milan, and Barcelona. Been to all the islands many times over these years and settled on spending 3 months in a highrise in Waikiki. Just three weeks into our 3 months the noise levels have driven me to comment. The noise levels are significantly high compared to the many places I listed. We are located in a high rise at the corner of Kalakaua and Ala Moana. Being from California where we regulate everything, it has given me a new appreciation. it is surprising how noisy it is in this location during a pandemic. Many contributing factors include the following; 3 lane road into Waikiki, which turns into a parade of mufflerless motorcycles and cars, motorcycles who like speed, cars with boom boxes, cars that need mufflers, hourly EMS support vehicles (they might as well setup a trauma center downtown Waikiki) Numerous crazy people shouting expletives on the sidewalks, which bring police cars in a 5:1 ratio. 5 police vehicles to one crazy homeless fellow. Woken up several times to yelling on the streets at 5am this morning. Yesterday we burnt toast in our unit and our building alarm brought every life support person to our building. Good grief! I wonder all the sirens that go off during the day are events like our burnt toast? How many are legit emergencies? Do you keep statistics on the amount of emergency vehicle traffic and purpose of the chaos they create with their sirens?
I reflect on our the memories of our time in Belaggio, Italy (not las vegas) where all roads into the village were closed to traffic, except at the perimeter with all service vehicles limited access on certain hours. Very pedestrian friendly. Waikiki could easily reduce the noise and enhance the pedestrian and resident experience by removing the highway that runs down Kalakaua Street. Only provide two lanes for service vehicles and give the streets back to the public. And restrict when these vehicles can enter into the Village of Waikiki. The City of Paris, provides dedicated lanes for city support vehicles. Modifying and/or removing traffic lanes will provide support to public transportation and make this a more pedestrian oriented place to live.
There seems to be a real need for more mental health professionals to work with the homeless. Should be better muffler laws for better noise and air quality. New construction already require sound qualities within the units, but the older units need incentives to improve sound transmission quality. My goal of visiting Waikiki was for our mental health, with the hopes of a renewal of getting back to normal, remove the car from our lifestyle and enjoy the slower lifestyle. Unfortunately we didn't expect these noise levels nor the resurgence of a virus.
We all learn from our life experiences and this is one we don't want to repeat. Mahalo from California Architect.
Quieter O'ahu Responser:
Well said. It's the shame of HPD that they offer NO enforcement of these out of control cars and motorcycles. A total and complete dereliction of their most basic duties.