Thursday, March 3, 2016

Kapolei should have never happened

In her article titled Kapolei Hale turns 15 and the accompanying video Kapolei: Oahu's Second City?, reporter Jayna Omaye and videographer Kimberly Yuen present the story of Kapolei which, starting in 1990, took pure agricultural or unimproved land and began changing it into a "second city."

“Kapolei is a planning disaster,” said Panos Prevedouros, a civil engineer who has taught at UH for 25 years and specializes in transportation engineering and infrastructure sustainability. “It’s a bedroom community. It didn’t develop into a Second City. It developed as pure mainland-style suburbia.”

Prevedouros said traffic congestion and the lack of infrastructure and jobs point to Kapolei continuing on the path to become “Anywhere, USA.”

George Atta, DPP director, said Kapolei should have been developed with higher densities and in clusters, adding that building heights are 150 feet. Kapolei should grow in nodes, with each having its own characteristics and that should eventually connect — similar to downtown Honolulu and its Ala Moana, Kakaako and Waikiki neighborhoods, he said.

Kapolei should have never happened.  Honolulu should have developed into a dense urban strip from Salt Lake to Waikiki, a 10 mile corridor. In it mass transit would have succeeded with a compact high capacity, partially underground rail line.  But the powers that be and the planners who serve them opted for a double disaster. Kapolei's suburban sprawl 20 miles away from the city and an expensive, elevated rail system to permanently tether the second city to the first.  Bad plans lead to bad solutions and high costs.  And that's all we are reaping.