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Community Action 9-Point Plan

Ala Moana Blvd. Improvements

Ala Moana Regional Park 

Streetscape Improvements

The public Input and the Community Action 9-Point Plan identify Ala Moana Streetscape/Gateway improvements as an early catalyst project. This plan is designed to improve the visual character, provide needed shade and help to "green" the park. The plan includes filling in the gaps along the existing street edge with large caliper shade trees, planting of new grass, and new native trees & landscaping at the canal bridge crossings.  Needed improvements will be made to the existing irrigation system will also help to "green" the park. Before & After images are included below to help visualize the improvements.

The Honolulu Mayor recently held a tree planting ceremony, for phase 1 of the project. Ten Coco Palms were planted at one of the bridge locations identified by the public last year as a priority site for revegetation.

The public identified the need to green the park edge and create a more welcoming environment.

The plan is just one of the first steps to enhancing the park and building on what is already there. The plan is also consistent with the guiding principles identified below.

Ala Moana Boulevard

Ala Moana Boulevard is the main East / West corridor through Kakaako and divides mauka Kakaako from the Makai Kakaako. As such Ala Moana Blvd must be treated as the major vehicular and pedestrian corridor.  The existing Ala Moana Blvd. features large Monkeypod trees (Samanea saman) in the wide grassed median.  By replanting the missing Monkeypod trees and embellishing the ambiance created by the Monkeypod trees by planting more trees it will create a pleasant shaded pedestrian causeway across and into Ala Moana Park.

Canopy Street Tree

New specimen Monkeypod street trees to match existing median trees and the official HCDA Kakaako street tree. Trees will provide additional shade and create an attractive and comfortable walking environment.

Native Trees - environmental education

Native trees will be grouped in small species specific clusters shading and providing intimate meeting areas along the canal.  Plantings will include interpretative signage with cultural and botanical information.

Native Palms - entry trees

Native Loulu palms (Pritchardia martii) featured at the pedestrian entrances to the park. These Loulu palms are endemic to O’ahu’s Koolau Mountain Range.

Some Background Information & Research

Monkeypod  “Honolulu’s Super Environmental Tree”

Monkeypods are most valuable tree to the city from an environmental,economiic and human quality of life benefits annual basis equaling $238 per tree.

Honolulu is undoubtedly one of America’s favorite cities, and trees play a special role in creating the beautiful environment that so many people want to visit and call home. The City believes that the public’s investment in stewardship of the urban forest produces benefits that far outweigh the costs to the community and that investing in Honolulu’s green infrastructure makes sense economically, environmentally, and socially.

Research indicates that healthy city trees can mitigate impacts associated with urban environs: polluted storm water runoff, poor air quality, high requirements for energy for heating and cooling buildings, and heat islands. Healthy public trees increase real estate values, provide neighborhood residents with a sense of place, and foster psychological, social, and physical health. Street and park trees are associated with other intangibles, too, such as increasing community attractiveness for tourism and business and providing wildlife habitat and corridors. The urban forest makes Honolulu a more enjoyable place to live, work and play, while mitigating the city’s environmental impact.

#1 in Environmental Benefits

Although the Monkeypod tree makes up only 3.1% of the population but, because of its great size, is Honolulu’s most valuable tree by providing the most environmental benefits.

Highest rate of urban survival

Monkeypods fare the best out surviving all other street tree species with nearly 90% of mature age trees in good or excellent condition, which suggests that even very old, large Monkeypod trees in Honolulu do quite well.

#1 in Electricity Savings

Electricity saved annually in Honolulu from both shading and climate effects equals 1,943 MWh ($343,356) or a citywide average of $7.84 per tree. Monkeypod trees provide 10.6% of the energy savings although they account for only 3.1% of total tree numbers, as expected for a tree species.

#1in Carbon Reduction

Urban forests can reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide in two ways:

    • Trees directly sequester CO2 as woody and foliar biomass as they grow.

    • Trees near buildings can reduce the demand for heating and air conditioning, thereby reducing emissions associated with electric power production and consumption of natural gas.

The inventoried trees of Honolulu store about 25,519 tons of CO2, thereby playing a valuable role in fighting global climate change. Again, the Monkeypod has the largest cumulative effect, providing 12.2% of the benefit.

#1 in Air Quality Improvement

Urban trees improve air quality in five main ways:

    • Absorbing gaseous pollutants (ozone, nitrogen oxides) through leaf surfaces

    • Intercepting particulate matter (e.g., dust, ash, dirt, pollen, smoke)

    • Reducing emissions from power generation by reducing energy consumption

    • Releasing oxygen through photosynthesis

Transpiring water and shading surfaces, resulting in lower local air temperatures, thereby reducing ozone levels.

Large-canopied trees with large leaf surface areas that are not high emitters, such as the Monkeypod, produce the greatest benefits ($7,425 total; $5.40 per tree).

#1 in Stormwater Reduction

Healthy urban trees can reduce the amount of runoff and pollutant loading in receiving waters in three primary ways:

    • Leaves and branch surfaces intercept and store rainfall, thereby reducing runoff volumes and delaying the onset of peak flows.

    • Root growth and decomposition increase the capacity and rate of soil infiltration by rainfall and reduce overland flow.

    • Tree canopies reduce soil erosion and surface transport by diminishing the impact of rain- drops on barren surface.

Certain species are much better at reducing storm- water runoff than others. Leaf type and area, branching pattern and bark, as well as tree size and shape all affect the amount of precipitation trees can intercept and hold to reduce runoff. Top tree is the Monkeypod ($29.65 per tree).

#1 in Economic Benefits

Many benefits attributed to urban trees are difficult to translate into economic terms. Beautification, privacy, shade that increases human comfort, wildlife habitat, sense of place, and well-being are difficult to price.

The estimated total annual benefit associated with property value increases and other less tangible benefits is $3.16 million, or $72 per tree on average. Tree specie that has the highest average annual benefits is the Monkeypod ($175 per tree).


City of Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Municipal forest resource analysis

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