He surfs, he bikes, and now he rides the bus.

Mayor Peter Carlisle dedicated not one but two new bus stations Tuesday morning, rode an in-service city bus from one ceremony to the other, and gave himself a moniker along the way: “Intermodal Pete.”

In Wahiawa, Honolulu Department of Transportation Services Director Wayne Yoshioka, who served as emcee of both events, introduced Carlisle, outlined the itinerary and explained the importance of the facilities.

The two facilities — the Wahiawa Transit Center and the Middle Street Intermodal Center — are key cogs in Honolulu’s forward-looking bus system. They’ll facilitate expanded service in Central Oahu and are designed to integrate with the train as it gets up and running in coming years.

“This is exciting, because for a long time infrastructure, not just here on Oahu but in the state of Hawaii and particularly on the mainland United States, has been ignored,” Carlisle said in Wahiawa. “This is the kind of place where when we put money into it, it’s going to improve the quality of lives.”

The ceremonies celebrated a decade of work and collaboration by various local entities.

The Wahiawa facility is built on state land and actually dedicates 25 of its 58 rooftop parking stalls to the staff and customers of the state’s Civic Center. The federal government kicked in $2.2 million of the $5.6 million cost.

Officials representing the region spoke: Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin, former Senator and new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board member Bobby Bunda, and former Council Chair and current Hawaii Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz. They thanked those who had worked on the project since 2001, and said they hoped the facility would serve as a community gathering place and will be just the start of redevelopment of Wahiawa.

Yoshioka told Civil Beat that the center is part of a bigger plan for public transportation in Honolulu. The city is in the process of reevaluating its bus routes, Yoshioka said, and the Wahiawa center could serve as the hub in a hub-and-spoke system that would improve efficiency and allow officials to provide more frequent trips to outlying neighborhoods in the area.

Riding TheBus With TheMayor

Carlisle, flanked by a city officials and Oahu Transportation Services Inc. executives, rode an in-service bus for about 40 minutes from Wahiawa to Middle Street. The traveling party was joined by one reporter.

Route 52 buses usually traverse the Island Circle twice an hour, and one had departed Wahiawa about 10 minutes ahead of the mayor’s bus. But some stragglers remained, and appeared surprised to find the city’s chief executive on board when they stepped on.

One woman became the first official passenger to board at the new transit center. She was given a leftover purple orchid lei by one of the city officials and bid the mayor a fond aloha on her way off the bus a short while later. Two more hopped on at the first stop. Then there was a mother and her young daughter at Waikalani Drive near Mililani, and one gentleman with a bicycle a few stops after that.

When the cyclist got on the bus, one of Carlisle’s staffers cheerily greeted him: “Have you met the mayor?”

Ever the glad-handing, baby-kissing campaigner, Carlisle wore dark sunglasses and a hat, perhaps trying to go deep undercover. When the staffer convinced the young pig-tailed girl to come sit next to Carlisle, he played with a pair of Strawberry Shortcake dolls she produced from her pink pocketbook and posed for a couple of pictures before turning his attention back to the bus — and the upcoming campaign.

Carlisle said he’s looking forward to the “fight” of the campaign, and that he knows that says something interesting about him. He wasn’t sure if two-time mayoral also-ran Panos Prevedouros was tired of garnering 20 percent of the vote or if he is still desirous of attention. He wondered if this reporter had heard anything about Kirk Caldwell‘s intentions. Asked about rumors that well-funded Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee might run for mayor, Carlisle said he’d heard those rumors too.

And asked about a potential challenge from Council Chair Martin — who told Civil Beat last week he’ll definitely run for mayor, someday — Carlisle smiled and laughed. The two had cordially sat next to each other for the happy occasion in Wahiawa about an hour earlier.

Caravan Reaches Kalihi

The Middle Street Intermodal Center, as its name might suggest, combines several projects and modes of transportation in one location. The facility features a Handi-Van administration and maintenance building, a Handi-Van parking lot, a park-and-ride lot with about 100 spaces and, now, the Middle Street Transit Center.

Someday, the center could feature four stories of parking and a pedestrian bridge link to the Middle Street rail station.

The Federal Transit Administration contributed $8.1 million of the $11.2 million cost of the last phase of the Middle Street facility. In all, Yoshioka said, the center cost more than $50 million to build. Both he and Council Transportation Committee Chair Breene Harimoto spoke at both events Tuesday.

Just as in Wahiawa, local elected officials thanked Hawaii Sen. Glenn Wakai and Rep. Aaron Johanson spoke in Kalihi. They congratulated the city for its successes. The mayor was happy to accept congratulations.

“This is really the future of the face of Oahu,” Carlisle said. “Once we get that system properly integrated and up and running, this is going to make people’s lives a whole lot better. It’s going to be a lot more time doing productive work rather than sitting around congestion, traffic, and it’s going to be a lot more time for us to be with our families.”

Here’s Civil Beat’s slideshow from the dedications and the bus ride with Mayor Carlisle:

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