Developers plan for updated transportation, connectivity

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Oct 21 2012 11:56:17 PM HST

A new vision for Waikiki and so much has changed.

HONOLULU -

The Waikiki 20/20 conference recently wrapped up at the Hawaii Convention Center, and this year, transportation, pedestrians and building on what began decades ago are taking center stage.

Some 20 years ago: Kuhio Beach was under expansion, the Hilton's Kalia Tower opened up and so did DFS Galleria.

As the years went on, there was the dredging of the Ala Wai, 'Sunset on the Beach,' and Lewers Street and Waikiki Beach Walk were reborn.

"I think we've made a lot of progress, there's still more that can be done," said Rick Egged, Waikiki Improvement Association President, at the Waikiki 20/20 conference last week.

For 2012 and beyond planners are preparing for a regular schedule to fill and expand Waikiki beaches, building the Sea Water Air-Conditioning System, and better addressing the homeless problem.

But right in the forefront is the discussion over transportation and the people that need it, and you can bet the developing Honolulu rail system is a part of that plan.

"How do you get people from the busiest rail station, the terminal at Ala Moana center, into Waikiki efficiently," asked Transportation Director Wayne Yoshioka.

Developers want a super shuttle, with frequent Ala Moana-Waikiki loops, and a streamlined, updated bus system.

"They would buy tickets before hand at a kiosk," said Yoshioka. 

They want connecting bicycle and walking routes throughout Waikiki so pedestrians can move about the area safely and with ease.

"There are some bottlenecks in Waikiki that have been around for a long time. One of them is Kalakaua Avenue turning into Lewers and Royal Hawaiian," Yoshioka added.

He wants to re-time lights so when pedestrians are allowed to cross the street, traffic will stop in all directions to avoid competition between cars and people.

"We want to plan properly at this point and over the next six months to a year, and that's what we are going to be doing," said Egged.

Waikiki 20/20 is bringing ideas galore, for Waikiki's next 20 years.

"It's the whole island even the state that has an interest in the success of Waikiki," he said.

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