By Danielle Douglass and Alia Pan
With near-perfect weather year-round and the emergence of more bike lanes throughout the state, bicycle commuting has become a common sight on Hawaii’s roads. Hawaii B-cycle, a pilot project that brought the state’s first two bike-sharing stations to Kailua in 2011, ended in 2014 with enthusiasm from stakeholders. The project’s goals of introducing the concept of bike sharing and learning to create a larger bike share were met.
Ten of the bicycles from the pilot project were donated to Better Tomorrows at Kuhio Park Towers for the residents of The Towers of Kuhio Park to use. The organization is currently working to secure maintenance and repair support for the bicycles and provide bicycle education classes to the residents. In December 2014, the King Street protected bike lane opened for one-way traffic and in May 2015, it expanded for bicyclists to ride both ways.
The two-mile lane runs from Alapai Street to Isenberg Street. The City and County of Honolulu plans to start constructing Honolulu’s second protected bike lane, which will run along South Street, in early 2016.
A first for Honolulu
Bikeshare Hawaii plans to launch Honolulu’s first bikesharing program in the summer with up to 200 docking stations and 2,000 bikes. Bikeshare programs provide bikes to rent for short-distance trips, which can be combined with other modes of transportation. The plan includes bike-rental kiosks at Diamond Head, in Waikiki, at Ala Moana Beach Park, Kakaako, Chinatown, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
After the initial phase, the organization hopes to bring bike-sharing to other communities across the state, including Kailua. As with similar programs in cities across the globe, the goal is to give people more ways to get around.
Bikeshare Hawaii Chief Executive Officer Lori McCarney explains that people in Hawai‘i are cardependent not because they refuse to stop using them, but because there aren’t many other options. “Hawaii has great climate and great terrain. If residents here had other options that were convenient, affordable, and easy, they’d use them,” she says.
McCarney and President and Chief Operations Officer Ben Trevino have been raising funds, signing up sponsors, testing bikes, and promoting cycling as an alternative form of transportation. The organization got a big boost in June 2014 when the City and County of Honolulu and the state of Hawaii each awarded the organization $1 million toward its efforts. Other contributors include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and locally based Ulupono Initiative.