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City Ordered To Temporarily Halt Dismantling Of Haiku Stairs

By Ben Angarone | June 20, 2024

Haiku Stairs will remain standing until at least next week, the latest development in a yearslong saga of what will happen to one of Honolulu’s most prolific hikes.

The Friends of Haiku Stairs alleges in two lawsuits that the City and County of Honolulu did not follow correct procedures when it decided to dismantle the stairs.

The first lawsuit focuses on environmental regulations. A judge rejected the lawsuit in January, but the Friends of Haiku Stairs appealed the decision. Thursday’s order to halt the dismantling stems from that appeal.

The second lawsuit focuses on historic preservation regulations. In May a judge denied the group’s request to halt dismantling while that case proceeds.

Haiku Stairs is a World War II-era installation that hikers have since commandeered for its expansive views of the Windward Coast. Mayor Rick Blangiardi decided in 2021 to remove the stairs because of liability costs and resident complaints.

Only one of the hike’s 664 stair sections has been removed so far, according to city spokesman Ian Scheuring. A helicopter was scheduled to start removing the rest by the end of the month, but the court order delays that timeline, he said. Many of the stair sections — also known as modules — have been at least partially detached from the ground by now.

A judge will decide whether the halt will continue even longer. The Friends of Haiku Stairs and the city will each have 30 minutes to argue their case during a hearing next Wednesday.

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