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Downtown Lihue envisioned as bike-friendly campus

April 17, 2014 - 12:05am

LIHUE, Kauai — Kauai County officials have revealed plans to overhaul the Lihue Civic Center, making it more walkable and bringing in more offices.

The county intends to move bus services from Hardy Street to Eiwa Street and to make Eiwa a one-way street between Hardy Street and Rice Street. The goal is to turn the busy downtown area into a transportation and business hub, the Garden Island newspaper reported.

“We’re really looking at creating more of a campus setting that unites the Historic County Building with the Lihue Civic Center and the State Office Building as a green campus that is bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly,” County Transportation Planner Lee Steinmetz told the Kauai County Council at a meeting.

The plans also include converting the vacant Big Save supermarket building into offices for several county departments. The grocer closed in 2011, leaving nearly 16,000 square feet of space empty.

County officials said about $300,000 has been set aside for work on Eiwa Street. The county can seek matching federal funds for road work. Construction could begin this summer.

Key to the plans are creating more multi-use pedestrian paths and reconfiguring county parking lots, all with the aim of reducing automotive and bus traffic.

“There has been a big debate about Eiwa Street for many years — there are good arguments on both sides about keeping cars in or out,” Councilman Tim Bynum said. “To me, this kind of splits the difference and takes the best of both worlds.”

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