The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, eliminates the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) and replaces it with a set-aside of STBG funding for transportation alternatives. For administrative purposes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the OahuMPO refer to these funds as the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside).
These TA Set-Aside funds include all projects and activities that were previously eligible under TAP, encompassing a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects such as on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, recreational trails, safe routes to school projects, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management, and environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity.
The OahuMPO is required to conduct a competitive application process for the use of TA Set-Aside funds. Eligible applicants include tribal governments, local governments, transit agencies, school districts, and a new eligibility for nonprofit organizations responsible for local transportation safety programs. The FAST Act also newly allows the OahuMPO to use up to half of its portion of suballocated TA Set-Aside funds for any STBG-eligible purpose (but still subject to the TA-wide requirement for competitive selection of projects).
FFYs 2021-2025 Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside
The Policy Board has approved the Ala Wai Bridge and the Rail Station Multimodal Access Improvements – Halawa Station and Waiawa Station, for FFY 2021-2025 TA Set-Aside funding on April 27, 2021.
Ala Wai Bridge
The Ala Wai Bridge will be a new pedestrian and bicycle crossing of the Ala Wai Canal, connecting the Waikiki, McCully, and Moiliili neighborhoods; businesses; parks; schools; and recreational activities. The project also includes a pedestrian and bicycle connection to University Avenue. The project will connect the Ala Wai Blvd. pedestrian promenade and bicycle facility in Waikiki to Ala Wai Neighborhood Park, a multiuse path, and McCully-Moiliili neighborhoods on the mauka side of the canal. The project location map can be found in the full project submittal (link to the project submittals is located below). The proposed project is a cable-stayed design, the first of its kind in Hawaii, with an asymmetric configuration that uses a main concrete tower sited on the mauka side of the canal. Lighting would be incorporated on the bridge deck, cables, and bridge design features. The bridge would be approximately 20 feet wide to comfortably accommodate people walking and bicycling. This project will also connect with planned complete streets improvements on University Avenue and Ala Wai Boulevard.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION: This project would provide an alternative walking/biking evacuation route to approximately 18,300 residents and employers in Waikiki that could reduce evacuation time by approximately 15 minutes compared to existing available evacuation routes for walking/biking.
SAFETY: Kapahulu Avenue, as well as the three existing canal bridges, currently share the roadways with motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. Reducing the number of bicycle and pedestrian trips in close proximity with cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles will also improve overall safety for commuters biking and walking into and out of Waikiki. Ala Wai Elementary School and the Iolani School are the two schools closest to the Ala Wai Canal and are in the immediate vicinity project. A new crossing will also provide safer bike and pedestrian access from Waikiki to the many schools in the vicinity of the Ala Wai Canal, as well as mauka towards the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
MORE EFFICIENT TRAVEL: A new canal crossing could improve commute times and reduce congestion for the existing biking and walking trips that would benefit from bridge travel across the Ala Wai Canal. In particular, the approximately 7% of daily biking and walking trips (or 2,730 existing trips) that utilize Kapahulu Avenue to get around the east end of the canal may benefit from either a more direct commute into or out of Waikiki or reduced biking and pedestrian traffic on Kapahulu Avenue. A crossing in the vicinity of University Avenue reduces travel times and as much as one mile out-of direction travel for people walking and bicycling between Waikiki and McCully-Moiliili.
Rail Station Multimodal Access Improvements – Halawa Station and Waiawa Station
The project consists of planning, design, and construction of multimodal access improvements to the Halawa Aloha Stadium Rail Station and Waiawa Pearl Highlands Rail Station. At Halawa Station, those access improvements include a multi-use path mauka of Kamehameha Highway, pedestrian crossing of Kamehameha Highway at Arizona Memorial Place, and other safe multi-modal connections. At Waiawa Station, a pedestrian bridge connecting to the station, a bus-only ramp, four bus stops will be built. The lighting improvements, landscaping improvements, streetscape furniture, wayfinding signs, integration with the existing sidewalk and bus facilities, and other pedestrian and bicycle-friendly features will be constructed for the multi-modal access improvements. See full application for more figures.
The project will provide significant regional transportation benefits by providing the essential multimodal access to the two stations and the whole rail system. The multi-modal improvements will promote active and healthful transportation options. The potential for reducing the demand for automobiles would benefit all transit users and may increase the number of people choosing to ride the bus and rail.
The project is crucial to make bus to rail, bike to rail, and walk to rail connections possible from all communities in Pearl Highlands, Pearl City, Pearl Harbor, Salt Lake, and Aloha Stadium where many schools, shopping centers, medical offices, library, employment centers, and civic centers are located. The residents and the visitors to and from the affordable housing developments, the shopping centers, the military bases, and USS Arizona Memorial will especially benefit from the easy and safe access to the rail services.
FFY 2021-2025 Transportation Alternatives Comments and Responses:
Comments and Responses