More affordable housing, new pedestrian walkways and shops. These are some of the changes that could come to a historic Oahu neighborhood once rail is complete.
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans on putting three stops in Kalihi: one near Middle Street, the other in the heart of Kalihi and the third in Kapalama. On Wednesday night, city planners unveiled artist renderings of what could be built around the future transit sites.
“Kapalama is the most transformative, with new housing and new shopping and improvements along Kapalama Canal,” said Renee Espiau from the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.
Part of the new transit development plans include adding new bike paths and building a waterfront walkway along the Kapalama Canal.
“I think it’s gonna draw more jobs to the community. It’s gonna be easier for the seniors in Honolulu to get around,” said Kalihi resident Dawn Freitas.
But not everyone is sold on these proposals. Some feel the plans are too rail dependent and do not fit the neighborhood.
“The development itself may be too aggressive. Where are the people gonna work to afford the concept of having a new apartment or house? “ said Donald Guerrero from the Kalihi /Palama Neighborhood Board. “It’s too dependent on rail and it’s based on the station stops.”
The plans presented are not final until approved by the city council. City planners say even if plans for rail fall through, they would still continue the plans to grow the area and make it more pedestrian friendly.