Developer: New Pahoa Shopping Center Will Improve Traffic
The developer of a proposed new shopping center in Pahoa said accompanying improvements will improve – not worsen – the area’s abysmal traffic situation.
The $20 million center is being proposed for three parcels totaling nearly 10 acres. All three border Pahoa Village Road, and are located several hundred feet from the entrance to the Malama Marketplace.
Part of the property has been the longtime home of Bryson’s Cinders.
As proposed, the 104,250-square-foot center would be anchored by a supermarket and contain two restaurants, a medical clinic, a dental clinic, a garden center, and other commercial offerings.
Jon McElvaney of Inoue Hawaii Realty Corp., who is a consultant on the project for landowner Bryson Kuwahara, has filed an application with the county to rezone the property from agriculture to village commercial.
According to the application, the county will require that the developer widen Pahoa Village Road along the project’s 600 feet of frontage to expedite access to two existing driveways which will accommodate about a third of the traffic entering the center.
The developer will also build an extension of Kahakai Boulevard – which currently runs past Woodland Center but ends at a “T” at Pahoa Village Road – that will border the property and provide access for the majority of the center’s patrons. The extension will include a fully channelized intersection and signal light.
According to a traffic study done for the project, the traffic light will improve congestion at the intersection leading to Malama Marketplace by creating gaps in the traffic, providing more opportunities for vehicles leaving Malama Marketplace to turn left.
According to the study, the state Department of Transportation is currently designing a roundabout it will build on the Pahoa Bypass Road. McElvaney said because details of that design have not been provided, it is not yet known what other impacts the signalized intersection will have on overall traffic in the area.
At any rate, he said the roundabout should improve safety at the intersection where Pahoa Village Road meets the bypass, the location of numerous accidents in recent years.
McElvaney said he is welcoming input from the community on how the center is designed. He said the community will be invited to submit pictures and other suggestions for the design of the structures in the shopping center which will be passed on to its architects for consideration.
“We want to make sure the design fits into Pahoa,” he said.
The rezoning application said that construction on the center was expected to begin next year and be completed by 2015. However, the developer has been notified that because Kahakai Boulevard involves state land, an environmental assessment will be required for the project, which could set the timetable back six months or more.