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Park to Park: Oahu’s Walkable Coastline


You can discover a city’s essence by walking through it. People are embracing pedestrian mobility. In recent years, the demand to live in walkable communities have increased in urban environments. City planners, developers, and urbanists are transforming how we live. The basic conviction is that walkable communities increase our quality of life, since people become less dependent on their automobile.

Kaka’ako’s masterplan is geared towards this goal. Once an industrial area, Kaka’ako is now Hawaii’s newest urban corridor. Why are people flocking to this area? Simple. Developers are building Kaka’ako into a community in which you have easy access to all your needs (family and friends, work, entertainment, and dining).

Let’s take this a step further. Use your imagination.

A possible long term vision is to create a walkable southern coastline between A’ala Park and Kapiolani Park. Using these parks as our boundaries, we can create a walkable community that stretches from Chinatown to the Gold Coast. The neighborhoods in-between are Downtown, Kaka’ako, Ala Moana, and Waikiki.

A walkable coastline will allow people to venture easily into new neighborhoods. In addition to the rail, the City of Honolulu should also consider constructing an elevated walking path along this walkable coastline. An elevated walking path will:

  • Reduce street level traffic because it will remove pedestrians from competing with vehicular traffic.

  • Allow people to experience their neighborhood in a new way. Where a place was once not walkable, an elevated pathway could make it walkable.

  • Allow people to access more easily the epicenter of each neighborhood. There will be many entrances and exits along the elevated walking path to allow people to explore each community freely.

We spend a significant amount of time commuting. Honolulu has some of the worst traffic in the nation. We can change this. If a neighborhood is truly walkable and if public transportation is efficient, people will be more open to giving up their automobiles.

Our urban environments are becoming smaller, vertical, and more intimate. The creation of a walkable community can reduce sprawl. The goal is to create an environment where there is a seamless transition between living, working, to playing.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Ryan Oda (#RS-75450) is a licensed real estate salesperson with Benn Pacific Group, Inc (#RB-19423). The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of Benn Pacific Group, Inc., its agents, and or its affiliates. My thoughts and opinions can change over time. This blog is intended to provide a semi-permanent snapshot of a selection of various thoughts and opinions that may not be the same, or even similar, to those I may hold today.

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Ryan Oda (RB-23073) is a Real Estate Advisor with Forward Realty (RB-19423) in Honolulu, HI.