Leveraging State Agency Involvement in Transit-Oriented Development to Strengthen Hawaii’s Economy

This report recommends ways that Hawaii state agencies can leverage transit-oriented development (TOD) to maximize benefits to the State of Hawaii and, by extension, the people of Hawaii. The recommendations were developed through a series of meetings of the Project Stakeholder Group, which consisted of representatives from over 40 organizations, including government, private sector, and nonprofit organizations.

Since the workshop: Complete Streets improvements kick off Kaua’i County, HI’s downtown renaissance

hardy-street3New sidewalks near the intersection of Rice Street and Hardy Street, and at the entrance to Wilcox Elementary School. Photo via the County of Kaua’i.

County leaders in Kaua’i, HI are working to revitalize the Līhu’e Town Core as a vibrant, walkable heart of the island, with Rice Street as its main street. In 2008, the county crafted its Holo Holo 2020 plan to guide that work, and in 2014 they asked Smart Growth America to inform that work with a parking audit workshop. What has Kaua’i been up to in the time since?

Over the last year, Kaua’i has gotten started on its revitalization work with Complete Streets improvements to Hardy Street. New sidewalks, turn lanes, bike lanes, on-street parking, and street plantings will eventually run the entire length of Hardy Street, which is parallel to Rice and curves around to intersect with it in the heart of Līhuʻe’s town core.

Planning Director George Atta on planning for a more convenient Honolulu, HI

honoluluArtist’s rendering of light rail service through downtown Honolulu. Image via AIA Honolulu.

Honolulu, HI is known for its natural beauty. The city unfortunately also has third worst traffic in the nation. To help remedy that, the City of Honolulu is working to create alternate ways for residents to get around the island and George Atta, the Honolulu Planning Director and a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, is one of the leaders making it happen.

Atta grew up in Honolulu and has been in the planning profession for many years. Doing this work on a small island, he explains, makes many smart growth lessons more immediate.

“Planners on an island see the consequences of our actions pretty quickly,” Atta says, “The problems we create stay here. So it’s been easy for us to understand the benefits of a smart growth approach.”

County of Kauaʻi, HI seeks parking solutions for Līhu’e Town Core

lihue2A road through Līhu’e, HI. Photo by Melissa Emmons via Flickr

The County of Kaua‘i is working to revitalize the Līhu‘e Town Core and position Rice Street as the main street of Kaua‘i. The County’s success, however, largely depends on managing parking in the area. To that end, County officials met in Līhu‘e with representatives from Smart Growth America on May 6 and 7, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program.

“We are grateful to Smart Growth America for partnering with our team so that we can involve the entire community in this effort,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “Creating better parking solutions for the Līhu‘e’s Town Core is important to the revitalization of this area. We’ll use lessons learned and apply them to other parts of our island. It’s a great win-win for all concerned.”

Dangerous by Design 2014: Hawaii

The National Complete Streets Coalition reports on the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, offering county-, metro-, and state-level data on traffic fatalities and an interactive map of each loss in the decade 2003 through 2012. This resource specific profiles the state of Hawaii.

New Senate bill would make America’s streets safer and more accessible

Kailua, HIStudents in Kailua, HI, walk along a street with Complete Streets features. A new bill in the Senate would require Complete Streets considerations for federal projects. Photo via Charlier Associates.

Whether you walk, bike, drive or take transit, Complete Streets policies help make sure you travel safely and conveniently, and a new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would encourage every community in the country to use these strategies.

On Friday, Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Safe Streets Act of 2014 (S. 2004), which would require all new federally-funded transportation projects use a Complete Streets approach to planning, designing and building roads to accommodate the safety and convenience of all users.

Hawaii: Say “Aloha” To Transit-Oriented Development

This article orginally appeared on Streetsblog DC.


Honolulu, one of the most congested cities in the country, could benefit from more transit-oriented development. Photo: ShowBus

Not all transportation in Honolulu, Hawaii is a walk on the beach.

Known for its breathtaking natural beauty and warm temperatures, Honolulu is also plagued by heavy traffic congestion and delays. High energy costs and a lack of transportation choices compound the challenges of getting around Hawaii’s state capital and most populous city.

To put it in perspective, Honolulu recently surpassed Los Angeles to become the city with the worst traffic in the nation. And on average, households in the City and County of Honolulu spent a whopping $13,598 each year on transportation alone, wasting an average of 58 hours in traffic during that time.

Leveraging transit-oriented development for economic growth, better living in Hawaii

[caption id="attachment_23906" align="alignleft" width="640"] An artist’s rendering of a potential transit-oriented development in Waipahu, Hawaii. According to a new report from Smart Growth America and the state’s planning office, such developments could boost economic development and quality of life on the island.[/caption]Hawaii state agencies can leverage transit-oriented development to help deliver on many of Governor Abercrombie’s economic development, quality of life and environmental protection goals, according to a new analysis from the state’s Office of Planning and Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute.

The report’s recommendations come after a series of meetings between state government officials, private sector leaders and non-profit representatives. The group of more than 40 participants, convened by Governor Abercrombie, identified the importance of transit-oriented development to Hawaii.

“The people of Hawaii now have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage transit-oriented development throughout the islands, including but not limited to The Bus and rail transit on Oahu, but also the Hele-On Bus on the Big Island and the Maui Bus and Kauai Bus,” said Governor Abercrombie. “By planning ahead, we can use TOD as a positive tool to proactively direct growth away from agricultural and conservation lands and lay the groundwork necessary to encourage development where it is most needed and welcome for the next generation.”