Kaua‘i Complete Streets policy leading the state

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i is setting the street ahead for Complete Streets policies, Get Fit Kaua‘i coordinator Bev Brody told the Kaua‘I County Council last week.

The state Legislature in May 2009 passed Act 54, requiring the state Department of Transportation and county transportation departments to ensure the accommodation of all road users, regardless of age, ability or preferred transportation mode.

In September 2010, the Kaua‘i County Council passed the first Complete Streets resolution in the state, fulfilling the requirements of Act 54 and setting directions for planning efforts and ordinances, Brody said at a presentation at the council chambers April 11.

Kaua‘i’s leadership in Complete Streets policy in the state was featured in the National Complete Streets Coalition newsletter September 2010, according to Brody.

The Maui County Council accepted a Complete Streets policy last week using the Kaua‘i resolution as a model, she said.

Kaua‘i’s Complete Streets resolution builds on resources from the State Complete Streets Task Force, which released a final report November 2010, and Get Fit Kaua‘i, the county’s nutritional and physical activity coalition, Brody said.

Get Fit Kaua‘i’s Built Environment Task Force, formed after the resolution, is focused on community design for improved health outcomes, she said.

“Complete Streets don’t have to cost a lot of money,” said Brody, adding that sometimes all it takes is redirecting lanes, painting lines and crosswalks and putting in some signs.

She said the task force has been monitoring the county progress since the council passed the resolution. It also has been active in workshops and conferences, including bringing experts to the state Hawai‘i Congress of Planning Officials in Po‘ipu last September and providing funding for technical assistance from the National Complete Streets Coalition and other experts.

The task force now looks toward continuing support in updating the county’s roadway and development standards and coordinating efforts with the Safe Routes to School Task Force.

The county Planning and Public Works departments have been working closely with the task force. County long-range planner Marie Williams is the chair of the task force and Deputy County Engineer Lyle Tabata is a task force member. Tabata is also the chair of the countywide Safe Routes to School Task Force.

“To effectively implement Complete Streets we need to update our zoning and subdivision codes, create a strong multi-modal transportation component in our long-range plans and include our six-year Capital Improvement Program process,” said Williams, adding that the task force “really benefited” from an internal action plan created last October when experts came to Kaua‘i for a workshop.

Tabata said county officials from several departments have been conducting monthly workshops to adapt the Living Streets Manual from Los Angeles, Calif., to meet the needs of Kaua‘i.

Some plans are already in progress, such as a lighted crosswalk by Koloa Elementary School and upgrades to Lihu‘e areas, including near Wilcox Elementary School, Tabata said. Other plans will include retrofitting Hanapepe and Koloa towns, Kilauea Lighthouse Road, and improvements in several elementary schools on Kaua‘i.


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