MCCULLY (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new bike lane slated to run along both sides of McCully Street is now under construction.
City officials say the path will do more than address the high demand for biking options between Waikiki, King Street and the University of Hawaii at Manoa... They say it will be another step forward in making Oahu's roads safer.
"It really troubles me that as one of the major cities in our country we rank at the very top of killing pedestrians in our sidewalks and roadways," said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "And that has to change."
Earlier on Wednesday, crews began painting lines for the new lanes, which will run on both sides of McCully, from Kapiolani Boulevard to King Street. The project will eventually be connected to the protected bike path already in place along the mauka side of King Street, which runs from Alapai Street to Isenberg Street.
The King Street pilot project was installed in 2014. City officials say bike ridership in the King Street lane shot up by 88 percent in just the first year the protected path was put in, but area businesses have complained that the bike bath has impacted their customer traffic due to limited parking and access.
During construction, the city removed 11 parking spaces on the outside of the lane to improve visibility.
Concerns about the loss of much-needed parking spaces in the busy McCully-Moiliili neighborhoods is the number one opposition the new bike path is facing.
However, city transportation officials told Hawaii News Now last year that they should have removed the parking area along McCully "a long time ago because it's too narrow and doesn't meet safety standards." Officials said there are consistent reports of parked vehicles getting sideswiped and parked cars encroaching on pedestrian space.
The King Street bike path cost about $500,000 to install. It's unclear how much the McCully connection will cost.
After McCully Street is done, the city will install a bike lane on South Street -- creating two mauka-makai connections to the King Street bicycle track. Other streets will follow. Officials say they're considering Piikoi, Pensacola and Keeaumoku along with Ward Avenue.
Hawaii biking organizations and the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board will stand along side Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell as he announces the plan to provide improved biking options for the area.