Governor Linda Lingle signed S.B. 718 on May 6, a landmark bill that requires the Hawaii DOT and the counties to establish policies to accommodate all users of the road, no matter age, ability, or mode of transportation.
Spearheading the effort was the One Voice for Livable Islands coalition, whose members include AARP Hawaii, the Hawaii Bicycling League, Hawaii Public Health Association, Kailua Urban Design Task Force, Kauai PATH, Injury Prevention Advisory Committee, Maui Bicycle Alliance, and Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii.
A recent AARP survey of Hawaiians found that 90 percent of people over 50 want safer roads on the islands, where 54 pedestrian fatalities have occurred in the last three years. In fact, according to the National Household Travel Survey, Hawaii’s bicyclists and pedestrians are eleven times more likely to die in a traffic related crash than those traveling by car.
Jackie Boland, Associate State Director for AARP Hawaii, expressed AARP’s concern over those numbers. “We’ve been very concerned about the number of pedestrian and cycling fatalities and are pleased that Hawaii’s policy makers have decided to proactively address this issue at the planning stages of a transportation project,” she said.
Act 054, the Complete Streets law, calls for the creation of a statewide task force to review existing state and county highway design standards and guidelines and propose changes to procedures and design manuals. Their final report is due to the State legislature prior to its convening in 2011.
“May 6th will always be the day complete streets came to Hawaii, cyclists, pedestrians, seniors, students, everybody has hope that the streets will be safe now, that we will all have access and that our air will be cleaner,” said Justin Fanslau, spokesperson for the One Voice for Livable Islands Coalition.and a legislative advocate.
Read more in the press release from One Voice (.doc).