City wants more protected bike lanes — with parking as the price

City wants more protected bike lanes — with parking as the price
Published: Mar. 15, 2018 at 3:57 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2018 at 5:02 PM HST
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McCully, Oahu - Construction will soon begin on a pair of protected bike lanes in urban Honolulu.

Work will start later this year on Pensacola Street. The plan is to have a two-way bike lane on the Diamond Head side of the road from Wilder to Waimanu.

Then, in early 2019, the project will expand to Ward Avenue. One-way bike lanes will be added in both directions from King Street to Ala Moana Boulevard.

The price for the protected lanes? Seventy on-street parking stalls.

While both new bike lane projects are a go, city officials say they want to talk to residents ahead of finalizing any plans.

"Help us get these bike ways right. Make sure they fit into the neighborhoods," said Jon Nouchi, deputy director of Transportation Services.

In conjunction with the existing King Street bike lane that runs from Alapai to Isenberg, the projects will add almost two miles of protected paths connecting some of the most dense neighborhoods in the urban core.

Ellie Bigalow has been cycling her way around Honolulu for 30 years and is excited about the new projects.

"I can get around a lot faster on a bicycle than in a car," she said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said since the Biki bike program launched eight months ago, it's had over a half million rides.

"I believe if we create this urban grid we're going to see more people riding," he said.

But critics believe the new bike lanes won't get enough use while drastically reducing already limited street parking.

The city estimates Pensacola Street will loose 30 stalls. Another 40 spaces would also be removed from Ward Avenue.

"How many bikes are going down the street right now? Hardly any. And the people who live here. They don't have parking spaces in their apartments. Where are they going to park," said Matt Gushiken.

Gushiken is an avid cyclist but isn't happy with the way the city has set up the protected lanes so far.

"It's very dangerous," said Gushiken. "A lot of cars are turning into the driveways or coming out and you can't see them because it happens so quickly."

The public is invited to weigh in on the new bike lanes at a workshop on March 22, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Blaisdell Center's Pikake Room.

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