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Kokua Line

Airport people mover kaput because of keiki’s horseplay

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Question: I am a pilot in Honolulu. For many years the airport’s moving walkway on the second level between the interisland and international terminals seems to be down for maintenance most of the time. Why? Who’s responsible?

Answer: Officials say "little kids" and an aging system are to blame for the continual breakdown of the people mover.

"The last five years or so, we’ve been running into problems on and off … throughout the day," said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

One reason: Passengers are pushing carts onto the walkways despite posted signs saying carts are not allowed.

"The main problem actually is little kids" jumping on the walkway, causing the rollers to break, Mori said. "When they jump off, it sets off the sensor, which automatically shuts down the people mover" as a safety trigger.

That causes a lot of wear and tear on the machinery, installed more than 15 years ago. Because of its age, replacement parts have to be specially made on the mainland each time, Mori said.

Also delaying repairs was a protest over the award of a new maintenance contract that took six months to resolve. During that period, the former contractor continued with maintenance but not repairs.

A new $855,000-a-year contract with Otis Elevator Co. for maintenance and repairs of walkways, elevators and escalators is expected to be finalized by year’s end, Mori said.

Current repairs to the moving walkways involve replacing 3,500 rollers, as well as broken glass panels, again attributed to the antics of "little kids." Total cost: about $40,000.

If problems continue with the walkways, "we will assess whether (they need) to be replaced and upgraded or removed altogether," Mori said. It would cost about $600,000 to replace the two walkways (one in either direction).

Question: I was in Waikiki recently, and a taxicab driver, stopped at a traffic light, threw an iced tea can onto the sidewalk. When I told him, sarcastically, "That was nice," he said, "That’s 5 cents for someone who needs it." How would it be if everyone started to reason that way? Waikiki would be Cankiki. What is the fine for littering?

Answer: Under state law, littering is a violation punishable by fines ranging from $100 to $500 for a first offense, plus either a sentence of picking up litter or community service.

Under Section 339-4 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, it is unlawful to discard or dispose of litter on any public or private property, unless in a designated garbage/refuse disposal site or receptacle. It’s also illegal to litter in state waters.

In addition to a fine, violators can be sentenced to four hours of picking up litter or other community service for the first offense. For subsequent offenses, litter pickup or community service increases to eight hours.

There is a specific law against tossing any kind of rubbish or debris from a vehicle on any highway (Section 291C-132 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes). In this case the driver would be the one cited.

Violators would face the same penalties described above.

For information on Hawaii litter laws, see www.opala. org/solid_waste/Criminal_Littering.htm.

MAHALO

To Walgreens on Keeaumoku Street for landscaping the front of their building. — J.P.C.

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Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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