Walking In Kapolei

I know that walking isn’t the most popular activity here. Shopping areas are far apart, and sun usually makes a long walk a sweaty one.

But I’m a lifetime city lover—as an adult I’ve lived in New York City and Seattle. Walking is just something I’m used to, UV rays be dammed.

Over the last week I walked from my in-laws to Starbucks (1.6 miles), from Japan restaurant to other one (1.1 miles) and from the ‘Ewa Beach Buffalo Wild Wings to a family member’s house off of Pohakupuna Road (2 miles).

the streets of kapolei

Walking in Kapolei is certainly different than walking in congested urban areas like Manhattan…or Waikiki.

The blocks are much longer, which is nice in one sense because you aren’t constantly coming up to a new intersection that can slow you down. But it can also be a little boring.

Not every main thoroughfare on the west side has a sidewalk. When my wife and I tried to walk from the ‘Ewa Buffalo Wild Wings, the most direct route was down Fort Weaver Road. But that stretch of Fort Weaver doesn’t have a sidewalk, only a shoulder. My wife deemed it too dangerous, so we cut through Ocean Pointe instead. We were safer, but we also added half-a-mile to our walk.

Some other pretty key routes on the west side lack sidewalks—Fort Barrette Road and Papipi Road are two I had to step lively on recently.

Other intersections only permit pedestrians to cross on one side of the street, which—to put it simply—is a pain in the ass. It certainly does nothing to encourage walking.

I found that drivers in Kaploei are very aware of pedestrians, and always good about stopping when a pedestrian has the right of way. Most drivers in suburban areas I’ve walked in are much less generous—sometimes, oblivious.

From a purely selfish perspective I’d love to see Kapolei get more walkable. But a more walkable city is also a heathier one. Harvard University studies prove (and I’m putting this more bluntly than they do) that walking staves off death. They say:

  • Harvard grads who walk nine miles a week have a 22% lower death rate.
  • Male doctors and nurses who walk at least 30 minutes a day are 18% less likely to get coronary artery disease.
  • Female nurses who walk at least three hours a week have a 35% lower risk of cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.

To sum up—the people of Kapolei are nice to walkers, but the streets of Kapolei could be a little moreso.