Kapiolani Boulevard rush hour contraflow could soon change - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kapiolani Boulevard rush hour contraflow could soon change

(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Contraflow map marking marking no left turns on Kapiolani. (Image: Hawaii News Now) Contraflow map marking marking no left turns on Kapiolani. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's been around since 1952: the afternoon contraflow on Kapiolani Boulevard. 

But after hearing complaints from ticked off drivers and residents, the Honolulu City Council is considering changing the no left turn restrictions.

A bill to modify the rush hour contraflow passed its first reading in city council Wednesday.

Councilman Trevor Ozawa introduced bill 89 which moves to allow left turns along certain intersections of Kapiolani when coned.

Currently, drivers heading west on Kapiolani Boulevard are restricted form making a left turn from the start of the contraflow in McCully all the way to Ward — a restriction that causes headaches for drivers trying to access the Waikiki and Ala Moana areas. 

Ozawa said he introduced the bill because Honolulu's traffic needs have changed since the contraflow began 65 years ago.

"We have a growing community in Ala Moana and Waikiki, and a growing tourism industry yearly," Ozawa said. "It doesn't take into consideration the amount of time in which it takes the people heading westbound on Kapiolani Boulevard to get to their destinations, whether it's work or home." 

Bill 89 calls to allow left turns at the intersections of Kapiolani and Atkinson and Kapiolani and McCully Street. 

In August 2016, the city's acting Transportation Department Director Mark Garrity told Hawaii News Now the left turn restrictions made the streets safer and kept traffic moving.

Ozawa didn't think so. 

"(Drivers) gotta go right and come back around and do a loop through the smaller streets," Ozawa said. "The smaller streets aren't created to bear that load."

Ozawa said he introduced the bill after a year of working with the transportation department to find alternate solutions, but nothing was done.

Discussion on Bill 89 will continue. 

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