Residents pushing to make Kamehameha IV Road safer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Residents pushing to make Kamehameha IV Road safer

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents along a stretch of Kamehameha IV Road in Kalihi Valley say there are a lot of speeders there. They say it's especially dangerous because there are two public schools and a heavily-used district park on the roadway.

On Friday night, they took to the street to hold signs supporting a "complete street" makeover to make Kamehameha IV Road safer.

Now that the city has finished "complete street" projects in neighborhoods around Oahu, families in Kalihi are rallying for their own road makeover.

"Reducing the lanes, having a middle turn lane, having a cycle lane, will make drivers more cautious and have it safer for pedestrians," said Marcos Bedana of the Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange program, located on the road.

Supporters point to 23 serious vehicle crashes here in the last six years, along with 12 serious pedestrian accidents.

Currently, Kamehameha IV road has four traffic lanes for motor vehicles. The plan calls for three lanes -- one for traffic in each direction, a continuous left turn lane, and two lanes for bikes. It would be identical to changes made to Keolu Drive in Kailua.

Supporters said it won't cost anything extra when the city repaves the road.

"What we're talking about is a very simple change of just re-striping, so something that can be done, in a very, very easy manner, and it's an easy in not only for the city and county but also for our community to get safer roads," said Jared Christenot with Kokua Kalihi Valley.

The "complete streets" concept is mean to make streets safer, especially for bicyclists and pedestrians. Communities have welcomed the projects, which were born out of a 2009 state law and a 2012 city  law requiring the city to systematically upgrade neighborhoods.

The city has been studying the possibility of a project in Kalihi Valley, and supporters said its time to bring it to their area.

"We went up and down the neighborhood and talked to people about this, so it wasn't just something that cyclists are trying to push for a bike lane," said Bedana. "It's really more than just having a bike lane."

The idea has the support of the Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board, along with area schools. However, there's no word yet from the city, which would have the final say.

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