Narrowed streets, reverse parking and new road signs might not sound like popular ideas, but the city says it is willing to challenge the public for the sake of making Hawaii cities safer.
A new "Complete Streets" project debuted in Aiea Friday to test out the concept.
Marking the start of a new initiative, $41,000 in repainted lines and new signs have transformed this high-traffic drag across from Aiea High School.
“This is a very dangerous intersection, and because it's so wide, you have a lot of speedsters that just barrel down the street,” said AARP Hawaii Director Barbara Kim Stanton.
Ulune Street is one of three roads this year changing for what is called the city's "Complete Streets" Project. The street tests different ways to make roads safer for cars, bikes, and people.
The lines painted on the outside of the crosswalk are called bulbouts. They narrow each of the lanes, making it a shorter distance for someone to cross the street and therefore making it safer.
“This is a high traffic area and it is right in front of our schools. We find that the highest number of car crashes is with the school-age kids and also the seniors,” said Stanton.
About 20 new parking spaces give Oahu its first taste of "Back-In Angle Parking." City planners are making their case for why the community will learn to like it.
“I know it will take time to get used to, but it's safer because when you back out of a stall, that's when most accidents occur,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Breene Harimoto.
Also, passengers and your trunk will be channeled away from the street and toward the sidewalk.
“All in all, it’s proven to be much safer,” said Harimoto.
Kailua Road and North King Street are coming up next. The project will also replace parking and tow away zones with a bike lane running from downtown to University Avenue.
“We're passionate about making our streets safer and better for everyone,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
The city plans to do more of those bulbouts in other areas that extend the curb, but narrow the road. It says that will make it easier, especially for seniors, to make it across lanes in time.
Studies have found narrowing lanes typically slows down traffic.
Caldwell says the city will be testing those areas, asking for feedback and adjusting the project as need be.