Complete Streets Popping Up Around West Oahu
Elefante’s Connections…City Councilman Brandon Elefante
In 2012, my predecessor, now state Sen. Breene Harimoto, introduced and Honolulu City Council adopted Ordinance 12-15, which is a complete streets policy for the City and County of Honolulu.
A “complete street” includes certain features that put important street-safety concepts into practice, making a road that serves pedestrians, automobiles, bicycles and people of all mobilities.
This is an exciting time for all of us as we achieve safer streets through attention to design details intended to address specific safety issues. Features include improvements to streets, sidewalks, crosswalks and bicycle lanes. These can be achieved through design of items such as bicycle lanes, planting strips, pedestrian refuge islands and mini-circles.
By making a street safer, people are encouraged to stroll, visit with their neighbors, get out of their vehicles and ride their bicycles — and it makes the city vibrant and exciting. Complete streets have been credited in many areas of the country with increased economic benefit and quality of life.
Complete streets also can include parklets, which are mini-parks large enough to fit in a typical on-street parking stall, bringing the people to the street. An example of a parklet in Honolulu is a seating area fronting Hank’s Haute Dogs in Kakaako, with benches and a trellis.
The city has begun designing complete streets projects throughout the island to improve safety and mobility.
In Aiea, we have a complete street on Ulune Street fronting Aiea High School, which include striping, reverse-in parking, narrowing of the road, and signage to make pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists aware of these safety improvements.
In Pearl City, the Manana area includes mini-circles and street bulb-outs to address safety and speeding issues — other complete street elements.
These complete streets’ designs begin with a walking audit with community leaders, neighborhood residents, state Department of Health, City Department of Transportation Services, consultants and other partners.
I recently attended a complete streets walking audit of Hiapo Street in Waipahu, where we discussed the recent rollover accident on Hiapo and Mahoe streets and how to make that area near August Ahrens Elementary School safer for all travelers.
Dan Burden, a nationally recognized complete streets expert, led the group on a walkabout to identify issues and possible solutions. The city will compile a report with recommendations for the area tailored to specific needs identified.
A recent safety improvement in the area includes a dedicated student drop-off/pickup lane recently opened adjacent to August Ahrens Elementary School.
You can find more information about complete streets at smartgrowthamerica.org/complete-streets.
If you know of an area in our community that could benefit from complete streets, please contact me at 768-5008 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Councilman Brendan Elefante represents District 8, which includes Lower Aiea, Pearlridge, Waimalu, Newtown, Pearl City, Seaview, Crestview, Waipio Gentry and Waipahu.