Seattle’s Housing Agency staff discuss the High Point affordable housing redevelopment with U.S. government officials including Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., in the front row in a red shirt. The group was in Seattle last month for the Pacific Northwest Peer-Exchange Tour.

Seattle’s Housing Agency staff discuss the High Point affordable housing redevelopment with U.S. government officials including Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., in the front row in a red shirt. The group was in Seattle last month for the Pacific Northwest Peer-Exchange Tour.

A contingent of Hawai‘i officials from every county, along with other county officials from the Mainland participated in the Pacific Northwest Peer-Exchange Tour in Oregon and Washington State last month. Their main mission was to learn how to utilize modern transportation tools to meet land use needs.

Kaua‘i was represented by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., County Engineer Larry Dill and Planning Director Michael Dahilig. Bev Brody, executive director for Get Fit Kaua‘i, also went on the tour, according to county officials.

“The whole tour took place outdoors, so we were able to experience what it’s like to walk, ride a bike, use transit or ride a car in the different built environments, which ranged from simple to complex,” said Carvalho, adding that on the last day of the tour, the group went on a two-hour bike ride around Portland, Ore.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Kaua‘i County Planning Director Michael Dahilig and Kaua‘i County Engineer Larry Dill enjoy a city parklet in Seattle.

Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., Kaua‘i County Planning Director Michael Dahilig and Kaua‘i County Engineer Larry Dill enjoy a city parklet in Seattle.

The participants saw firsthand how the key elements of Complete Streets can be applied, and gained an understanding of how to create streets and buildings that fully support an existing population resulting in a vibrant business economy.

In addition, the participants had the opportunity to network with their peers and discuss the challenges of implementing change.

Two cities, Seattle and Portland, were featured in the tour, along with smaller communities in Washington State, including University Place, Bainbridge and High Point.

“Of course, not everything we saw would be appropriate for Kaua‘i, but we can take some of the ideas and implement them here,” Carvalho said. “Essentially, what we are striving for is to optimize our built environment to help people live healthier and happier lives.”