Residents vote on transit development
Final rail stop being debated
It is nearly the end of the line for Hawaii's Rail transit oriented development.
On Tuesday evening, residents got a look at what the future might be like for the final stop of Oahu's rail project and the surrounding Kakaako area.
Then dozens got a chance to vote on various version of projects they'd like to see around the last stop of the rail project, in what is known as transit oriented development.
"When you talk about transit oriented development, you're really talking about creating urban villages. There people can walk and travel outside of a car or bus," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Some of the plans called for more extensive building right around the rail stop, others spread that development around Kakaako, or changed the mix of residential housing and commercial space. The varied versions came from resident's ideas from the first community meeting, and the latest feedback will make future plans come to life.
"We're taking all those ideas of what could happen and making them real in a variety of scenarios, and feature different alternatives," said Transit Oriented Development Administrator Terry Ware.
One thing is sure, on all the plans there is a lot of development planned for the end of the rail line,
"We have limited land, so we have to utilize it to the best of our ability," said part-time Hawaii resident Lurene Rivera.
Some like Rivera, were not in favor of crowding many more high-rises into Kakaako.
"There needs to be development, but I don't want it to be so extensive that we don't see Diamond Head," added Rivera.
Some voted in favor of streetscape concepts that called for more bike ways or pedestrian areas, while the mayor gave his vote of confidence to the company chosen to build Hawaii's rail cars.
This comes after the CEO of Ansaldo Honolulu's parent company was arrested on corruption charges last week.
"I feel confident that they are going to be able to build the cars and the system we want to be built. It's never good when someone is involved in a scandal, but the subsidiary doing our project is sound and viable," said Caldwell.
The city wants to hear ideas from residents over future plans for the final rail stop. Those interested can check out the various versions of transit oriented development online at www.honoluludpp.org. Then residents are asked to contact the city by almost any means, from good old-fashioned letters, to Facebook messages, tweets or emails.
The final transit-oriented development meeting will be held this summer.
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