Friday, August 28, 2009

Bike Plan

I just turned in my comments on the O`ahu Bike Plan. I'm in a dark and cynical mood this month, and I don't really have much hope that the plan will be implemented. None of the past ones have been - all the money gets spent on consultants, and there's never any left over to actually build the bike lanes. I can still hope for a surprise.

I represent St. Louis on Neighborhood Board No. 5. I have been a bike commuter on O`ahu for the past 14 years. I currently commute daily between Kaimuki and Downtown. These comments are based on experience:

1. A major issue commuters face is a lack of connection between existing lanes and routes. This is not shown on your map. A few examples: A) The McCully / Kapiolani intersection is dangerous, and impossible to navigate in a legal yet safe manner. Riding makai down McCully, and a biker needs to make a left hand turn into a narrow gap in the stone wall that is usually occupied by pedestrians, while cars heading mauka inch into the area prepping for a right turn. B) The Bike Path that runs behind the Convention Center is broken into segments; bikers need to navigate a mid-block crossing on a blind hill twice. C) The intersection at Kapahulu and Ala Wai is not dangerous, but is messy & requires hopping on the sidewalk to make the connections. THE existing bike maps that you use treat each of these intersections as areas that are already functioning!

There are similar problems heading from town to the airport. There will be a great path, and then BAM! Nothing!

2. We have been told at the Neighborhood Board that there will be no money to implement this Plan. If this is the case, then the City would appear to be not in compliance with Charter Amendment 6, and this plan would be no different than the other plans that have been written, filed, and not implemented. Please address how the City and County can integrate bike planning into existing day to day operations. For example, if a road is repaved then we could add a proposed bike lane in then.

I would like to note that when issues regarding sidewalks, potholes, parking, etc. are raised at our Neighborhood Board meeting, the County will respond. When bike issues are raised we are told: Wait for the Bike Plan. We need to be able to address biking issues on an ongoing basis without needing a new Master Plan every decade. We don't wait for a Master Plan for sidewalks before building them.

3. Like other bike commuters, I don't understand what a "Bike Route" is. Two of the existing bike routes downtown - McCully and the one in Kaka`ako - are two of the worst urban roads for bike commuters. What will the benefit be of adding more "routes" if there are no infrastructure improvements to the route.

4. The urban hubs for bike commuters are UH, Ala Moana area, Waikiki, and Downtown. There is a good connection heading from UH to Downtown, and a passable connection Downtown to Ala Moana. If we have to prioritize, I would argue that we should focus on the flow between these areas.

I'd be willing to ride with any planners, or point out the areas where minor work on improving connections would result in major improvements. My email is Thank you.