Honolulu Mayor approves measures to remove Haiku Stairs

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi says he will remove Ha’ikū Stairs.

He shared this statement.

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We have listened to the varying compelling arguments and appreciate all the feedback and information received from all sides of the Ha’ikū Stairs issue. We recognize the interest the stairs have to certain community groups, however issues such as trespassing, personal injuries, invasive species and overall safety of the public cannot be ignored. Fundamentally, it is inappropriate to have a high-use tourist attraction entering through this residential neighborhood, which lacks in the capacity to provide appropriate facilities or parking. In addition, there is no unrestricted access to the stairs and the primary landowner at the base made it clear it is not interested in providing access. Consequently, my administration is aligned with the City Council’s resolution to remove the stairs and we intend to move forward with the necessary plans.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

After decades of debate the fate of Haiku Stairs has been decided. On Tuesday, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said his administration will move forward to remove the structure.

“Am I happy that the stairs are coming out?” said Mo Radke chairperson for the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board. “No. I think that there could have been a way forward. But the residents, and I understand their position, aren’t interested in a way forward. They’re interested in a way out. In this case, I believe that they’ve got it.”

The City has not said when the work to remove the stairs will begin.

The Haiku Stairs have been off-limits since 1987, but hikers have ignored warning signs often illegally walking through people’s property and hopping fences to gain access. The Department of Parks and Recreation provides $250,000 for Honolulu police units to enforce the rules every year.

“When it really comes down to it, there are people that have to live there,” said Radke. “I think on a personal level, I would have liked to have seen a managed access plan be vetted and looked at.”

The Haiku Stairs were built during WWII by the Navy to access a military radio station. Some say it’s sad seeing the end of the era.

“I like historic preservation especially from the war era, especially something like the Haiku Stairs,” said Radke. “Because it was quite phenomenal the way it was put together. Personally, I’m a little bit sad that would be coming out.”

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In March of 2020, Kualoa Ranch offered to move the stairs to their property if removed. KHON2 has reached out to see if that’s still an option and are waiting for a response.

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