Plans for neighborhoods around Oahu rail stations unveiled

Published On: Nov 16 2013 05:34:15 PM HST

Plans for neighborhoods around the future 21 rail stations were unveiled at a symposium at the Blaisdell Center on Saturday. Officials are trying to get residents involved with designing the new communities, which will include more parks and bike lanes.

"Basically everything we do we will be able to take rail right now. We have two cars. My dream is to go a whole week without going into any of the cars," said Joelle Dubois, a Pearl Highlands resident.

The plan is to make neighborhoods around each station convenient for commuters.

Since plans are still in the developing stages, people have been able jot down their ideas to share with planners exactly what they want to see in their changing neighborhoods.

"The idea is at the local level working with people who live in the community. They have a good idea of what people want to do, what people are missing out on, so they are the ones who are best to decide what needs to happen," said Scott Glenn with Better Block Hawaii.

"Some of the plans, people want to restore the existing main streets. People want to build stuff that feels like an old town, but is new, more compact, a different range of housing. Parks that people can hang out in and walk to and to make it real easy to walk and bike in neighborhoods," said Harrison Rue with Transit-Oriented Development Honolulu.

The plan is to have more parks and plazas, creating community outdoor spaces.

Germaine Salim said bike stations are key. She added green stickers to a map at the symposium to show where she thinks they should be. There are plans in place to install 183 bike stations by 2015.

"I bike everywhere. We are thinking of getting a car, but we are trying to hold off as long as possible because I think things are changing," said Salim.

But critics are questioning how much everything will cost.

"Much of the things we are talking about will be done with the private sector stepping in. The government will just step aside. The things we are talking about here today with the young generation are things they do on their own and the government is saying go ahead and do it," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

You can still participate in the decision making by snapping a photo of something you want in your neighborhood and posting it on social media sites with the hashtag #TODhonoluluwishes.


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