The header for the Western District’s website this quarter features a photo of the Hardy Street Complete Streets Improvement project from the island of Kauai in Hawaii. The following is an article written by Mike Packard regarding this project.
Written By: Mike Packard, PE, PTOE
The County of Kaua‘i may be the least populous in Hawai‘i, but what it may lack in density is made up for in progressiveness. Complete streets is a notable area where Kaua‘i County has been leading the State. It was the first in the State to adopt a complete streets resolution in 2010. Since then the County has moved steadily toward integrating multimodal transportation into its planning and design projects.
Several of the County’s planning efforts integrate complete streets as a policy for addressing infrastructure challenges, revitalizing Kaua‘i’s small towns, and preserving rural character. These include the 2012 Multimodal Land Transportation Plan, the Līhu‘e and South Kaua‘i Community Plans (both adopted in 2015), and the Kaua‘i General Plan, which is currently being updated. The complete streets ideology is so ingrained in County Planning that the Department’s polo shirts are emblazoned with “I love roundabouts”.
The Hardy Street Complete Streets Improvements project was the first step in implementing many of these complete street principles on the island. It is also arguably the first comprehensive Complete Streets project to be completed in the State. The 0.7-mile Hardy Street corridor project and the Eiwa Street transit hub (shown in photo) are in the heart of the Līhu‘e town core. They are connected to the central business district, Wilcox Elementary School, and Civic Center. This project was completed as a design-build by the team of SSFM International, Inc. and Earthworks Pacific Inc. in 2016.
The Hardy Street roadway reconfiguration included a single-lane roundabout with historical community artifacts and interpretive signage, dedicated bike lanes with green paint conflict zones, newly constructed and widened sidewalks, pedestrian-activated RRFB crossings, landscaped medians and buffer zones, a mix of reverse-in angled and parallel parking, and LID rain gardens in parking bulbouts. The Eiwa Street transit hub included a one-way transit corridor with widened sidewalks and relocated bus stop shelter, in addition to a two-way bike lane connection.
Building on its momentum, the County leveraged its successful implementation of Hardy Street to obtain a $13M federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant for additional complete streets improvements in Līhu‘e. Regarding the grant, Governor David Ige called Kaua‘i “a model of sustainable transportation that can be replicated on other counties throughout Hawai‘i.”
So what’s Kaua‘i’s secret sauce? Could it be the mayor, who regularly “busts silos” by sending County directors and staff from multiple departments to visit Portland, Seattle, and other complete streets meccas to see best practices in action? The cross-sector partnerships with organizations like Get Fit Kaua‘i and Kaua‘i Path? In honesty, getting complete streets done is not an easy proposition, and the path on Kaua‘i has been far from smooth. Yet the ability to show results and implement a project like Hardy Street demonstrate that it’s possible… and that’s half the battle.
Hardy Street Complete Streets Improvements Design-Build Project, Lihue, Kauai, Hawai‘i
Kaua‘i Department of Public Works
Federal Aid Project No. STP 05720 (1)
Estimated Construction Cost: $7.8 million