In Waipahu, residents fear a 'complete streets' upgrade could make things worse

In Waipahu, residents fear a 'complete streets' upgrade could make things worse
Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 at 5:22 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some streets in Waipahu may be getting a makeover as part of the city's effort to make them safer.

On Waipahu Street, the city proposes putting in bicycle lanes where there is enough room and painting in shared-lane markers where the street is too narrow. Paiwa Street and Leoku Street may be changed from four traffic lanes to two, with a turn lane in the center and bicycle lanes on either side.

The concept is called Complete Streets.

Chris Tarrayo thinks it could work.

"That's a good idea. It's more safer for the bicycle rider," he said.

Complete Streets administrator Mike Packard says the city will apply that same tactic to Kolowaka Street in Ewa.

"Since 2015 there were two pedestrians hit on Kolowaka and then one other at Kapolei Parkway at the intersection with Kolowaka," he said.

But some residents complain to state Sen. Will Espero that losing two lanes for vehicles will create traffic backups. He hopes the city can find an alternative.

"Going from four lanes to two lanes is just opposite of what we've always been asking for in Ewa in terms of more lanes and more roads," he said.

Packard said Complete Streets, with fewer traffic lanes, is proven to slow down drivers.

"In certain areas where there are pedestrian cross walks, we'll actually hatch out the median space to provide safety for pedestrians," he said.

In Waipahu, the city hopes converting to Complete Streets will encourage more people to bike around the town.

Tarrayo thinks it will.

"It's more convenient. It's more cheaper," he said.

The city will present its plan to the Waipahu Neighborhood Board next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Filipino Community Center.

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