Ten years ago, Hawaii set ambitious goals to reduce their dependence on imported oil and create a clean energy future by 2045. To meet those goals, Hawaii must pair electrifying their vehicle fleet and increased renewable energy with smarter land use.
An ocean apart from the US mainland’s electric supply, Hawaii has embarked on an ambitious effort to wean itself off imported fossil fuels with a mandate to reach 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045. Elemental Excelerator commissioned Rhodium Group, in partnership with Smart Growth America, to conduct an independent analysis of Hawaii’s clean energy transition. This is not a plan; rather, this report presents a quantitative assessment of accomplishments to date and describes the future potential of clean energy deployment in Hawaii’s electric power sector and on-road transportation.
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.
New 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.
Artist’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.”
A 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.”
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.
Students 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.
Maui County, HI has been selected to receive technical assistance to create a green streets strategy as a part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.
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.