Honolulu’s Transportation Services Director, Wes Frysztacki, is stepping down weeks before his term officially expires.

Frysztacki, who’s served in that city cabinet role since 2017, will leave the Department of Transportation Services on Thursday to spend time with family on the mainland, according to an agency spokesman.

DTS Deputy Director Jon Nouchi will take over as acting director, agency spokesman Travis Ota said.

HART Board member Wes Frysztacki
Wes Frysztacki has left the DTS director post weeks before his term expires. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Frysztacki, a longtime civil and traffic engineer, worked on Honolulu bus and rail initiatives before joining Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration at the start of its second term.

He helped usher in some health-friendly and environmentally friendly alternatives to car travel, including expansions of Honolulu’s bike-lane grid and the long-anticipated Biki bike-share network, while soundly rejecting the rental e-scooters that inundated other cities. DTS under his leadership implemented changes to make some of the city’s streets safer for pedestrians while also removing crosswalks across Honolulu.

Frysztacki also helped oversee the city’s bus system and the Handi-Van, which continues to struggle as one of the nation’s most heavily used paratransit services per capita.

As transportation director, Frysztacki also served on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board and was heavily involved in the process to close traffic in the city’s urban core for utility relocation. Those efforts have since been put on hold and project costs have soared.

He also recently sided with his boss, Caldwell, in arguing at those board meetings to cancel the so-called “P3” contract procurement. HART has nonetheless disregarded those calls and continued with the P3 process.

Nouchi, meanwhile, served as HART’s deputy director for planning and environment before joining DTS in 2016.

Frystacki’s predecessor at DTS during Caldwell’s first term was Mike Formby. Formby will return to Honolulu Hale next year as Mayor-elect Rick Blangiardi’s managing director.

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