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SIGNIFICANT EVENTS 2012
• Teaming Partners: HPD, Roberts Hawaii, DOH, AARP, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party, UH Manoa Administration, Cycle Manoa, Maui Bicycling Alliance, Kauai PATH. • Governmental participation: MACB, OMPO, Transportation Commission
• Commuting mode share in urban Oahu increased in the past decade from 1.25% to 2.34%, nearly doubling in ten years.
• The legislature passed a Vulnerable Roadway User’s bill, with elevated penalties for drivers that injure or kill bicyclists and pedestrians among other vulnerable roadway users, establishing in law that vulnerable users deserve extra caution by motor vehicle operators.
• Waialae Avenue: bike facilities will be incorporated in the resurfacing program already begun; a combination of bike lanes and sharrows will be included in the new striping plan.
• Complete Streets: an ordnance was passed by the City and County of Honolulu, providing firm procedures to ensure the interests of cyclists and pedestrians are given equal treatment with those of motor vehicle operators by city departments.
• The Oahu Bike Plan was published with 138 miles of priority 1 bicycle projects at an estimated expense of $11.3 million.
FOCUS FOR THE FUTURE
• Administrative implementation of Complete Streets.
• Near-term implementation of key projects in the Oahu Bike Plan.
• Completion of Waialae Avenue bike facilities.
• State roadway bicycle projects on key commuter and other high-use routes.
• Safe, efficient connectivity for the Leeward Bikeway and Pearl Harbor Bike Trail as a commuter route to town from leeward areas.
• Safe, efficient bike use in conjunction with HART, including bikes on the train, bike stations at rail stops and bike channels on stairs to/from elevated stations.
In the ten years between 2000 and 2010, the mode share for cyclists commuting to work has increased in urban Honolulu from 1.25% to 2.34%, nearly doubling in a decade [USDOT 2010 Benchmarking Report]. With gasoline prices over $4.00 a gallon and likely to stay that way, and congestion in the major urban arterials growing to a majority of the day [51% of motor vehicle lane miles travelled were under congested conditions, costing overall $287 million, or $620 per year per peak hour commuter; 2011 State of Hawaii Data Book], these numbers are only going to get worse. Our goal is to double again the number of work related cycling trips in the present decade, and to make all cycling trips safer and more convenient as a means of transportation, recreation, and physical fitness. In the past 10 years, HBL has shifted some of its focus from events and education to advocacy, by building relationships with government agencies and other non-profit organizations with shared interests in health and safety, the environment, and efficient transportation.
For too many years bicycling has been an afterthought in the transportation conversation, while motor vehicle costs for infrastructure and operations have climbed, obesity and accident rates have climbed, and sea levels have begun to climb too. You might ask why. Bicycle facilities are more cost effective than those for motor vehicles. Per person capacity, bike lanes are 7 to 12 times more cost efficient in moving travelers than are car lanes. Based on statistical analysis including similar urban areas, adding 120 miles of bike lanes within Honolulu’s 60 square mile metropolitan area would be expected to increase bicycle commuting mode share by an additional 2% (to 4.3%), numbering 8,500 bike commuters [“Transportation” (2012) 39:409–432, DOI 10.1007/s11116-011-9355-8; USDOT 2012 Benchmarking Report]. Non-work related trips would increase by a factor of approximately 3 based on statistical averages. We have lagged in realizing these public benefits largely because of inertia and old ways of thinking about transportation. HBL is setting about to change that inertia by changing the conversation. Here is what we have done this year and what we are planning to advance bicycling on Oahu to its full potential.
Vulnerable User Bill. As 2011 ended, HBL began working with the Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party to encourage alternatives to the automobile, to reduce dependence on imported oil, reduce congestion, reduce air emissions, reduce public infrastructure costs, and improve public health. We focused on safety and improving the motor vehicle crash rate for cyclists and pedestrians in Hawaii. To the end of improving driver behavior which is the cause of over half of such accidents, following the lead of other states, we proposed a “Vulnerable Roadway User” protection bill for the 2012 legislative session. This bill defined “vulnerable users” as those lawfully using public roadways without being surrounded by steel sides of a motor vehicle, and as such deserving of an extra degree of care by motor vehicle drivers. Cyclists, pedestrians, roadway workers and emergency personnel are included in the defined category. A driver who commits a traffic offense and in the process seriously injures or kills a vulnerable roadway user would if convicted receive an augmented felony sentence under this bill.
HBL teamed with the Maui Bicycling Alliance and the Honolulu Police Department as well as the Environmental Caucus to develop this legislation, which was introduced by Representative Jessica Wooley. With the help of talented lobbying by HBL’s executive director, and the support of the Red Hot Ladies and other HBL members who wrote their legislators, this measure passed and was signed into law in July.
Waialae Avenue Bicycle Lanes. HBL has long had robust representation in the Mayors Advisory Committee on Bicycling (MACB). This is an appointed volunteer advisory committee working with the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) on bicycle related issues; the president of HBL, advocacy chairman and Executive Director are currently sitting members. In 2011, when it was found that the city agency responsible for roadway reconstruction (Dept. of Design and Construction; DDC) was preparing to resurface Waialae Avenue, the MACB inquired whether bike lanes were being incorporated on this heavily bicycled route between East Honolulu and the University. Although long on the bicycle master plan, we found that bike lanes were not in the works, and the MACB set about to change that situation. In tandem with the UH Manoa Administration, which has taken a strong leadership position advocating cycling to and within the campus, and dedicated efforts from Cycle Manoa, a year of work began. With support from the DTS director and his staff, engineering studies and a test of traffic conditions were conducted, public meetings held, and alternatives developed. The new restriping plan will include a combination of bike lanes and sharrows, making Waialae Avenue safer for cyclists and more efficient for cyclists and motor vehicles sharing the road.
Complete Streets. Perhaps the farthest-reaching achievement of the year was passage of Bill 26 before the City Council at its May 19th meeting. The bill, subsequently signed by Mayor Carlisle, essentially requires city agencies to put the interests of pedestrians and cyclists on equal footing with motor vehicle drivers when designing, constructing, repairing or maintaining public roadways. It establishes firm procedures and deadlines for accomplishment, and requires a system for evaluation and periodic reporting of progress. HBL teamed with AARP and the Department of Health in promoting this comprehensive measure, which was introduced and vigorously supported by the City Council Transportation Chairman Breene Harimoto and his staff. Strong backing by HBL members writing in to their council members and attending council and committee hearings was directly instrumental in its passage. We thank you all for that support.
The Future. Where do we go from here? Rail or no rail, it is clear there will be ever more cyclists on our roads and trails, to save time, to save money, for good health, to benefit the environment, and for fun. More bicycling will reduce public expenditures and will reduce roadway demand; it will be good for everyone. Our goal is to get more folks on their bikes for more trips, enjoyably and in safety. The tools are in place for us to accomplish that goal.
• Bike Plan Oahu is now completed and has proposed nearly 138 miles of priority 1 bike projects, which are estimated to cost $11.3 million. With Complete Streets, we now have a suitable tool to keep us on the path to funding for these projects.
• Travel between East Honolulu, town and the University remains bottlenecked. Improvements to Waialae Avenue will be a major improvement, but more needs to be done, as those who travel this route can attest.
• Bike routes on state roadways across the island are in need of attention, from reconstruction to maintenance. Having established good working relationships with state maintenance department, HBL with the help of our riders and members, will continue to bring maintenance issues to their attention. As a result of the state Complete Streets act (Act 54, 2009), DOT Highways Division has incorporated Complete Streets measures in the Highways Division Procedures Manual, providing us further opportunities to work with them in adding bike facilities on state roadways. DOT is required by state law to expend at least 2% of federal transportation construction dollars received on bike projects.
• With the HART rail project, debarking travelers at their station will need further transportation to final destinations; for many that will mean having their “town bikes”. We will continue to work with rail and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) planners to include secure bike stations at or near rail stations, and to include bike channels on the stairways up to and descending from train stations.
• The Leeward Bikeway is now heading toward construction, both phases have been approved and designed, phase 1 is under contract to be built. To connect this bikeway with downtown and Waikiki destinations, the Pearl Harbor Bike Trail needs to be improved, and a safe connection made into downtown.
This remains a work in progress, and is a continuing priority for HBL. We remain as always open to additional goals and priorities as they become known. Please do your part. Our ability to accomplish these goals will depend on HBL member volunteers and their willingness to pitch in and contribute when called upon, to help make Honolulu the bike friendly city we all know it can be.