City moves forward with project to install ‘bus only’ lanes on busy Waikiki thoroughfare
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city says the new street plan for Kuhio Avenue is designed to make the road safer, but residents believe it will do the exact opposite.
By the end of next year, the right lanes will only be open for buses.
That means only one lane in each direction will be open to commuters.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous. The traffic is pretty bad as it is already,” said Gabriel Robinson, of Honolulu.
The city is in the process of reserving the right lanes in both directions for city and private buses, trolleys, bicycles, and vehicles turning into driveways and side streets from Kapahulu Avenue to Olohana Street.
Rich Tubrin, chair for the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board, said it is convenient and necessary because it’s the only Waikiki thoroughfare that goes both directions.
“I was just in New York City, where New York City has done that for various (streets) like Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, the major avenues in Manhattan going downtown to uptown and it has created a disaster.”
Businesses like Sushi Spot is looking forward to more foot traffic.
“Tourists who pass by, they tend to look in our building and they just walk in,” said manager Dawit Kim.
The “bus only” lanes will look like the ones that debuted on King Street in 2020. Those cost the city $178,000 but transportation officials say the lanes improved bus and travel times up to 30%.
“It’s a good idea because traffic sometimes slows down the buses, and then they’re off schedule so that’s a good idea,” said Pat Fokumlah of Waikiki.
“However, we don’t have a very big road and that might be a problem.”
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DTS said they’ve provided project information to all businesses and hotel fronting Kuhio Avenue as well as several residential buildings.
The bus lane markings will be installed by the end of next year, but project updates will be mailed to all landowners and condominium associations in early 2023.
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