Life in Mililani (Mauka) - 9/20/2009
Mauka, in Hawaiian, means "toward the mountains". When referring to Mililani, Hawaii, it means that portion of Mililani Town which lies close to the Ko'olau mountains, the major mountain range running mostly north-south which divides the island of Oahu into what are commonly referred to as the windward (eastern) and leeward (western) sides. It is separated from what local folks call the Mililani Town area by the H-2 freeway, with the newer 'Mililani Mauka' residential area on the mountain side and the older Mililani Town portion on the "Makai" (toward the ocean) side. Most island folks don't use the usual mainlanders' north, south, east & west direction references.
The Mililani Town area includes all three of the main shopping centers (Mililani Town Center, Mililani Shopping Center & Mililani Market Place). Conversely, Mililani Mauka is primarily residential with the occasional one small gas station and very small strip mall near my home. I guess the main thing one would notice first about 'Mauka' is the amount of open and green space. That was a prime consideration when the area was concieved and built. It's the main reason, together with the quiet of the area, that most people give for moving here. The climate is a bit cooler on average in Mililani Mauka also, as we're a a bit higher altitude than other areas such as Honolulu proper and the more populated southern and eastern parts of the island.
There's an eclectic mix ages, backgrounds, income levels and ethnic groups in Mililani Mauka. It was designed from the beginning that way. We have both long-time Hawaii residents (kamaainas) and 'malihini', or newcomers. My local neighborhood, for example, contains lots of military members from neighboring Schofield Barracks and Wheeler Army Airfield, as well has a few Air Force and Navy personnel who commute to nearby Hickam Air Force Base & Pearl Harbor Naval Base. We even have a Marine or two from Kaneohe Marine base on the windward side of the island.
For recreation, Mililani Town, including the Mauka area boasts six recreation centers (I believe there's a seventh one due to open this year). You can find enthusiats for all kinds of sports from football to tennis to windsurfing. There are classes offered in several types of yoga, martial arts and exercise programs, not to mention many different arts and crafts classes and several after-school programs for the 'Keiki' (kids).
If you are interested in more academic pursuits, day and evening classes abound at both Leeward Community College in nearby Pearl City and the West Oahu campus of the University of Hawaii.
Oahu has an excellent bus transportation system including a 'Handy Van' program for handicapped and senior citizens. An elevated fixed guideway rail transit system is planned for the main commuter corrider from leeward Oahu into the airport and on through to downtown Honolulu and eventually to the main campus of the University of Hawaii. And, of course car commuters can always use the H1-H2 freeway system, though that can get rather congested at peak times.
Crime in Mililani Mauka, like most of the City & County of Honolulu, and, indeed, most of Hawaii is very low compared to most cities of equal size on the mainland. I'm sure glad I was able to raise my child here without many of the major problems I've continually read and heard about in many of the big crime areas on the West Coast and back east. People in Mililani Mauka by and large reflect the same spirit of Aloha found throughout Hawaii. Maybe some day that attitude will catch on with the rest of the country. Wouldn't that be great?
All the amenities - 1/30/2009
Mililani Town has all the amenities you would need. So much so that you don't need to make the commute to downtown Honolulu. We have a YMCA, a public library, the best Wal-Mart on the island, 2 Long's Drugs, 3 supermarkets, 2 McDonald's, many physicians, variety of dining out options at every price level, 14 screen movie theatre, 7 recreation centers, many parks and very close to Costco w/ gas, Premium Outlet mall (Waikele), major shopping mall (Pearlridge). Everything is very convenient. A drive to the one of the cleanest beaches on the island (Ko Olina) is only 40 minutes away. The only downside is if you work in Honolulu. That daily commute during rush hour will take a solid 2 hours out of your day -- 1 in the AM and 1 in the PM.[read more...]
Mililani Climate - 8/23/2008
The climate of Mililani is more temperate than the warmer, drier conditions typically found in urban Honolulu, due primarily to Mililani's higher elevation -- from 700 to 1050 feet above sea level.
Summer highs are generally in the low to mid 80s while overnight lows cool to the upper 60s and low 70s. Wintertime highs are most often in the mid 70s to low 80s with nighttime lows mostly in the 60s, occasionally dipping into the upper 50s. The moderate temperatures and dominating trade winds allow one to live quite comfortably with just ceiling fans, saving considerably on expensive air conditioning.
During the 11 years we have been living here we have averaged about 60 inches of rain per year in Mililani Mauka -- Mililani Town would likely receive a bit less. The winter months are by far the wettest while August and September are the driest. Rainfall is generally consistent enough to sustain a lawn but irrigation may be needed during a few, brief periods during drier years. The irrigation system we installed when we bought the house was handy when the lawn was first planted but it has since fallen into disrepair from lack of use. With a little planning the landscaping can survive naturally, saving both your time and the island's water supply.
Even with the frequent showers that move off the Koolau mountains there is abundant sunshine. This is a great place for solar water heating and photovoltaic electricity generation. Solar water heating is a no-brainer from a financial point-of-view; photovoltaic, not so much. Since installing a 3 kW photovoltaic system in January we have produced 80 percent of the electricity we use. That percentage will drop come winter but because the island depends primarily on oil for its electricity generation, the initial 15 year break-even point for the solar system might be realized in just 10 years.
Humidity -- yeah, we have it. After all, we are an island in the middle of the Pacific. But the moderate temperatures and persistent trade winds make the humidity strictly relative.[read more...]