The process of creating a TOD neighborhood plan is lengthy and involved. One of the first benchmarks is an existing conditions report. The Halawa Area Transit-Oriented Development Existing Conditions Report was recently released by DPP-TOD and it provides interesting reading. As one might expect, the majority of the report looks at present conditions and what exists in the area. I learned some interesting things that I did not know – Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea is on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places and the Aiea Cemetery is located in the interchange between Kamehameha Highway and the H-201 and there are 475 graves of primarily Japanese immigrants from the early 20th Century. The cemetery is eligible for historic registration.
The final portion of the report makes some assumptions about potential development and re-development of the area. Not least amongst these is the enormous potential of the Aloha Stadium site. A well-planned multi-use facility would provide opportunities for expanded sports activities, entertainment, retail, ancillary office and perhaps even housing. All of this could be done while maintaining the highly popular Swap Meet (did you know more than a million people visit this each year?) and creating connectivity to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center where more than two million people visit each year.
Add a rejuvenated Pearl Harbor Historic Trail (PHHT) to the above and we can create a world-class experience for residents island-wide as well as an enhanced experience for visitors.
Here is an achievable scenario: a young family in Waipahu decides they want to spend the day at Aloha Stadium. They take the train to Aloha Stadium and spend a couple of hours at the Swap Meet. Deciding they would like to take in a matinee, they store their purchases in a rental locker and enjoy a quick meal at one of the restaurants in the complex before the movie. After the movie, it is mid-afternoon and a gorgeous Hawaii day with the trade winds moving gently across Pearl Harbor. A bike ride home along the PHHT beckons so they rent bikes from the on-site bike rental facility and head out. Along the PHHT they stop for a shave ice at a refreshment/rest stop in Aiea before continuing on to Waipahu. In Waipahu they return the bikes to the bike share facility and head home after a day filled with fun, family time and outdoor activity.
There are many such scenarios one can imagine for the area. Creating it in the real world requires everyone to work together and to share a vision. One of the simplest places to start is with the PHHT and there is a re-newed energy and commitment from both the government and private sectors. I expect to see positive changes along PHHT in the next year.
Read the report or skim over it and pick the highlights. It will enlighten and hopefully inspire us to think boldly about the future while never forgetting the past and always enjoying the present.