Highway design

Ensuring that state road and bridge projects adequately meet our
transportation needs, exist in harmony with their surroundings,
and add lasting value to the communities they serve (HB2721 HD1).

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Hawaii's rural communities are the heart and
 2 soul of the islands, where the aloha spirit and natural resources
 3 are truly the essence of our State.  As urbanization spreads
 4 throughout Hawaii, these communities are at risk of losing their
 5 unique identities, especially when planning for roadway
 6 construction that must meet certain highway standards.  The
 7 standards that most highway designers reference are based on "A
 8 Policy on the Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" (commonly
 9 called the "Green Book") published by the American Association of
10 State Highway and Transportation Officials.  These standards are
11 not inflexible.  As a companion to the Green Book, the Federal
12 Highway Administration has published "Flexibility in Highway
13 Design," which encourages highway designers to expand their
14 consideration in applying the Green Book criteria.  It further
15 states, "This guide should be viewed as a useful tool to help
16 highway designers, environmentalists, and the public move further
17 along the path to sensitively designed highways and streets by
18 identifying some possible approaches that fully consider
19 aesthetic, historic, and scenic values, along with safety and
20 mobility."

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1      When Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation
 2 Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991, it recognized the importance of
 3 good design that is sensitive to its surrounding environment,
 4 especially in historic and scenic areas.  Aesthetic, scenic,
 5 historic, cultural, and natural resources of an area are
 6 important factors that create a sense of place and provide
 7 communities with an identity.  Section 1016(a) of ISTEA states:
 8 "If a proposed project involves a historic facility or is located
 9 in an area of historic or scenic value, the Secretary may approve
10 the project if the project is designed to standards that allow
11 for preservation of such historic or scenic value and such
12 project is designed with mitigation measures to allow
13 preservation of such value and ensure safe use of the facility."
14      In 1995, Congress strengthened this position in the National
15 Highway System Act in section 304 that states:  "A design for new
16 construction, reconstruction, resurfacing (except for maintenance
17 surfacing), restoration, or rehabilitation of a highway on the
18 National Highway System (other than a highway also on the
19 Interstate System) may take into account, in addition to safety,
20 durability, and economy of maintenance:
21      (1)  The constructed and natural environment of the area;
22      (2)  The environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic,
23           community, and preservation impacts of the activity;
24           and

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1      (3)  Access for other modes of transportation."
 2      By passage of the federal act, Congress gave the states the
 3 flexibility to develop and apply criteria they deem appropriate
 4 for federal-aid projects not on the National Highway System.  The
 5 legislature finds that there is a federal policy framework that
 6 encourages creativity and sensitivity, while achieving safety and
 7 efficiency.  This policy framework recommends early
 8 identification of critical project issues and encourages thorough
 9 consideration of community concerns and input prior to major
10 decisions which can severely limit all other options.
11      The legislature finds that organizations such as the
12 Alliance for the Heritage of East Maui, the Hanalei Road
13 Committee on Kauai, and the Hamakua-Honokaa Heritage Corridor on
14 the Big Island, are exploring and supporting concepts such as
15 scenic Byway or Heritage corridor programs.  Work is also in
16 progress to recognize the upper Kona road on the Big Island and
17 Ka Iwi coastal highway stretch on Oahu as important scenic and
18 historic corridors.  These organizations, which represent their
19 communities' desires, need alternative standards to be adopted by
20 the department of transportation to provide and meet community
21 concerns with regard to natural, cultural, historic, and scenic
22 resources.

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1      It is the intent of the legislature to encourage the highest
 2 quality design to ensure that road and bridge projects adequately
 3 meet the State's transportation needs, exist in harmony with
 4 their surroundings, and add value to the communities they serve.
 5      SECTION 2.  On or before June 30, 2003, the director of
 6 transportation shall establish new design guidelines to govern
 7 new construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, or
 8 rehabilitation of bridges, principal and minor arterial roads,
 9 collector and local roads, and streets.  The standards shall take
10 into account:
11      (1)  Safety, durability, and economy of maintenance;
12      (2)  The constructed and natural environment of the area;
13      (3)  The potential effects on the local and state economies;
14      (4)  The community development plans as reflected in
15           relevant county ordinances;
16      (5)  The environmental, scenic, aesthetic, historic,
17           community, and preservation impacts of the activity; 
18      (6)  Access for other modes of transportation; and
19      (7)  Access to and integration of sites deemed culturally
20           and historically significant to communities affected.
21      In establishing the standards described under this section,
22 the director shall solicit and consider the views of elected
23 officials and organizations including, but not limited to: those
24 with expertise in environmental protection, historic

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1

 1 preservation, scenic conservation, bicycle and pedestrian
 2 transportation, as well as regional councils of government, rural
 3 development councils, the state foundation on culture and the
 4 arts commission, and the Federal Highway Administration.
 5      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.