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"Complete Streets" solutions needed for Honolulu's urban core

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Aiming to make the streets of Honolulu's urban core safer, the city is turning to the community for their input.

Starting on Monday, November 13th, the community is invited to share their ideas and possible solutions for the Ala Moana/Ward area.

"Maybe a bike lane would be nice, so I don't have to dodge all the bikes on the sidewalk," said runner Marina Praet.

"The cars goes pretty fast through here when there's no traffic so .. If it was at least marked," added bicyclist Alan Gerner.

"Put a sign out there.. on that lane.. that says bicycles are allowed to be out there to warn drivers to share the lane," said resident Sandy Erickson.

Erickson walks almost every day in the Ala Moana/Ward area and says she would like to see more than just added bike lanes, but also sidewalks in some places.

"On Pohukaina Street there is no sidewalk going towards Waikiki  .. and there is a real busy gym and there's always traffic lined up.. that place could use sidewalks," Erickson said. 

Portions of Kapi'olani Boulevard, Kamake'e Street, Ward and Kalakaua -- are just some of the streets this project will focus on improving. Solutions up for consideration include: shared-use paths, bike lanes, raised crosswalks, along with more sidewalks.

Earlier this week, the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services (DTS) announced the creation of the first Oahu Pedestrian Plan and an update of the 2012 Bicycle Master Plan for the island.

"That's looking at the majority of our roads and a high number of our intersections.. to see exists and to look at making improvements through a gap analysis and determination of what's missing in our infrastructure," Mike Packard with Complete Streets said.

Packard tells Island News now that the city is able to take the initiative and also pay for pedestrian improvements, such as sidewalks, there is more freedom to make needed improvements. 

"Previously there were rules in place that put forth an I.D. process, which required the property owner to pay half the cost of any sidewalk instillation. That really limited the city's abilities to build out these improvements," Packard said. "For the past 30 years, we've really seen no new sidewalk construction because of that."

To help the city prioritize improvements for years to come, receiving comments from the community are critical.

"The pedestrian improvements, sidewalks in particular, are more expensive and that's way we need to plan for those.. which is why we do this study.. to put out the prioritization, so we can take the steps to get the most bang for our buck as we move forward," Packard added.

The first of eight public workshops, where the community can weigh in, will be held at Neil Blaisdell on Monday, November 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a full list visit the Honolulu Complete Streets website. Online input can also be submitted via email or through at. 

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