New law paves way for safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and the disabled

Pedestrian and bicycle safety advocates celebrated in May as the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that paves the way for the development of a multi-modal mobility infrastructure, making it safer and easier for residents of all ages and physical abilities to get around.

The passage of Bill 26 is the culmination of nearly six years of work at the state and county levels of government by advocates concerned that Honolulu’s roadways are predominantly designed for use by automobiles and provide dangerous conditions for those who don’t drive. Bill 26 requires that Honolulu’s roadways accommodate access and mobility for all users of public highways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and persons of all abilities. The new law is a significant milestone in the fight to ensure that city transportation planning and design takes into account Hawai‘i’s aging population.

“This law is the beginning of a culture shift in Honolulu transportation planning,” said AARP Hawai‘i Director of Community Outreach Jackie Boland. “Hawai‘i has the highest fatality rate in the country among pedestrians age 60 and older, and that has to change. Our city streets belong to everyone — pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, young and old, the able and the disabled.”

Bill 26 sets the stage for the implementation of Complete Streets in Honolulu. It describes Complete Streets features and principles, provides for the interdepartmental coordination and transparency necessary to ensure that city streets are made more accessible for all users.

Examples of Complete Streets features include such things as sidewalks, crosswalks, accessible curb ramps, curb extensions, raised medians, refuge islands, roundabouts or mini-circles, traffic signals and accessible pedestrian signals, shared-use paths, bicycle lanes, paved shoulders, street trees, planting strips, signs, multi-modal pavement marking and striping, street furniture, bicycle parking facilities, public transportation stops and facilities, including streetscapes, dedicated transit lanes, and transit priority signalization.

AARP is a membership organization for people age 50 and older with nearly 150,000 members in Hawai‘i. We champion access to affordable, quality health care for all generations, provide the tools needed to save for retirement, and serve as a reliable information source on issues critical to older Americans.

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