Drivers confused about cycle track on King Street

Drivers confused about cycle track on King Street

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Work is well underway on a dedicated bike lane on King Street from Alapai to Isenberg Street although the transition is hitting a few speed bumps in the process.

It is a different look. The asphalt berm blocks traffic. The green areas are conflict zones. Bicyclists love it, but some businesses and drivers aren't so sure.

We saw a person unload a passenger then drove about a block inside the dedicated cycle lane. That is definitely a no-no. That lane is called a cycle track for bicyclists only.

The green areas are called conflict zones where cars and bikes will cross each other. We also saw a lot of drivers pull forward and block the green conflict zone and stay there until they pulled out. But like a crosswalk it's not supposed to be blocked. They are changes that might take awhile to catch on.

"Especially with cars coming in and out of the driveways, but you just have to watch out for them," said Stanley Exum, of Makiki.

"Change is always difficult. More difficult for some than others," said Michael Formby, Honolulu Director of Transportation Services.

Bike traffic will eventually go both directions. Parking will stay the same except for losing a fewer than a dozen spaces in front of the Alapai Transit Center.

"For the rest of King Street including in front of Straub for the most part we took out the heads of the parking meters just during construction but when the cycle track opens those meters will be put back. People park over there. There's a buffer zone. They get out of their car. They look both ways. They walk across the cycle track and they feed the meter," said Formby.

"That will provide enough room for people to open their door, step out, look around for a second, get their bearings and then cross," said Daniel Alexander, Hawaii Bicycling League. "People that have bicycles, they're sitting in their garage they say I'd love to get out there and bicycle but I'm concerned, we don't think it's safe. This is the type of things, these protected lanes that will get those people out there."

There have been some flaws. Some of the asphalt berms have already been falling apart so workers were patching them up and then painting them white.

Some retailers we spoke with are concerned it will hurt business coming in and out of their properties. They also don't like the idea of losing a lane of traffic on King Street.

The city studied traffic and says it shouldn't be impacted.

"I think it's going to be a great project," said Formby.

The City hopes to finish the project by Thanksgiving, but definitely by Christmas.

This is a pilot program. After two years the City will look at accident history, complaints, and assess if it's working. They are looking at more areas, possibly down Ward, Piikoi and Pensacola to add more cycle tracks although that much further down the road.

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