Planning for complete streets in the islands

Jana Lynott
Jana Lynott
State Transportation Director, Brennon Morioka
State Transportation Director, Brennon Morioka

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Safer, simpler roads are part of Oahu's new complete streets plan. But this legislative act that recently passed, will impact more than just drivers.

More cars and more traffic! But bigger roads doesn't always mean better.

"We've really put a lot of emphasis on cars. We've become an auto-centric society and now we're starting to see that's not really working for us," said Jana Lynott, an AARP Transportation Advisor.

This changing national attitude has also reached Hawaii.

Now our roads are starting to be designed for everyone.

"Its not only about cars, we need to think about all highway users," said the State Transportation Director, Brennon Morioka.

That includes bicyclists, people who use public transportation, and even pedestrians along the roads.

When designing complete streets, planners are looking at ways to make them safer.

"The first thing to do is to slow roads down, so pedestrians and motorists understand what is going on and have time to react at that intersection," said Lynott.

Another solution to make our streets safer is to add more roundabouts. Which not only slow down traffic but also eliminate left turns. Which can be a problem as some older drivers have trouble judging the speed of oncoming traffic.

While changes would help our seniors, complete streets are designed for everyone.

"When you put in a curb cut you not only help someone in a wheelchair but a mom pushing a stroller," added Lynott.

Down the road, expect to see larger, easier to read signs, signals and street markings. Complete street ideas will be put in plans for all future transportation projects but not all roads will see changes. Communities will have a say in what works for their particular area.

"Our roads will no longer just go through communities, we want them to be a part of communities," said Morioka.

The complete street measures, also depend on them being economically feasible. If the changes or modifications are too expensive, they don't have to be put in place.