The 1970s saw a surge in the use of bicycles as an alternative form of transportation due to the Middle Eastern oil embargo and the resulting high gas prices. The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OMPO) has a vision for the Oahu Bicycle Plan: to create a bike path system that is accessible to all levels, abilities, and ages. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has made it a priority to build Oahu's first protected bike path along King Street, from downtown to the University of Hawaii at Manoa. This could be the start of a bicycle renaissance in Oahu, with safer conditions and more cyclists.
Mike Formby, the city's transportation director, is aiming to take the bike plan “to the next level” by building not only bike lanes, but also protected lanes that will hopefully reduce traffic congestion. The city designed a new bike plan in 1999, but much of it wasn't implemented. Currently, Oahu has about 132 miles of trails or bike lanes, and the plan plans to increase that number by an additional 559 miles over the next two to three decades. A bike sharing program could add up to 1,880 bicycles and 170 parking stations in some of the most congested areas of Oahu.
Last year, Civil Beat placed a camera on Mayor Caldwell's bicycle during an event to encourage support for cyclists. So how much funding has been allocated for the Oahu Bike Plan? The exact amount is unknown, but it is clear that Mayor Caldwell and other city officials are committed to making bicycle infrastructure a priority. The city has already allocated funds for the construction of protected bike paths and other initiatives, and more funding is likely to be allocated in the future. The Oahu Bike Plan is an ambitious project that could revolutionize transportation on the island. It could reduce traffic congestion and provide safer conditions for cyclists. It could also create jobs and boost tourism.
The city is investing in this project and more funding is likely to be allocated in the future. With this investment, Oahu could become a leader in bicycle infrastructure and set an example for other cities around the world.