City envisions road of the future as for more than just cars

City envisions road of the future as for more than just cars
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kamehameha IV Road used to have four lanes. That is, until the city put it in on what's called a "road diet."

The strategy is part of a new transportation policy called Complete Streets, aimed at making sure that roadways can accommodate cars, pedestrians and bicyclists better.

"The intent of Complete Streets is to help people feel more comfortable and more safe getting out of their cars," said Mike Packard, Complete Streets Administrator for the City and County of Honolulu.

For example, engineers said Kamehameha IV could be safer -- and still effective for drivers -- if it was reduced to two lanes with a third turn lane.

"It's been shown that road diets can reduce accidents up to 50 percent. It's a huge increase in safety for all users," Packard said.

Meanwhile, re-striping created space for bicycle lanes and the crossing distance was shortened for pedestrians, including kids who go to public schools along the roadway.

"If we create that type of network where children and parents can feel safe having them walk to school, then no longer are schools this large source of congestion that we regularly get in the mornings and during afternoons," Packard said.

In compiling information for Oahu's Complete Streets project, the city studied 16 streets, including Ward Avenue. When Complete Streets standards were applied to the thoroughfare, engineers determined that Ward Avenue needs to have wider sidewalks, relocated crosswalks, and a bicycle track.

Packard said projects of that scope are years away.

For now, the city is applying Complete Streets strategies to jobs that are easier to accomplish, like Kamehameha IV Road.

"The biggest bang for our buck is within our travel way, curb to curb, and what we can do with just striping or temporary type of curb bulbs, like at Isenberg and King where we can take advantage of under-utilized space and give that back to our pedestrians and cyclists," Packard said.

The 291-page Complete Streets manual makes recommendations on everything from connecting cul-de-sacs in new subdivisions to street lighting and curb construction. Read it here:

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.