Two way protected bike lane planned for South King Street

Published On: Apr 09 2014 10:26:56 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 09 2014 10:31:55 PM HST

The city is planning to put in a protected bike lane on South King Street by the end of 2014. The lane will start near Alapa'i street and go to University avenue.

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The city says the proposed bike lane won't affect travel times for motorists. The city did a six-month study of the six lane road in 2013 where it temporarily turned one of the lanes of South King street into permanent street parking, bringing six available lanes of travel down to five.

"Essentially what that did was take one lane out of commission for King street and the study showed that there was no impact on overall travel times," said Mark Garrity, deputy director of the City and County of Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services.

That lane is currently back in use for drivers during rush hour. Taking it's place on the opposite side of the road will be the proposed bike lane. The plans call for the lane to be 10-feet wide for two way traffic and protected from cars by an asphalt curb.

"This is the best practice. You have the sidewalks for pedestrians and wheelchairs, you have the cycle track for the cyclists and then you have the travel lane for the cars," said Chad Taniguchi, executive director for the Hawaii Bicycling League.

Last September the Hawaii Bicycling League did a bicycle count. It's data showed that more than half of cyclists were riding on sidewalks. That's illegal in commercial districts and can also be unsafe.

"Then the people using the sidewalk as pedestrians or wheelchair riders, they feel uncomfortable because now somebody going a little faster than them is on there," said Taniguchi.

With the new lane bicyclists expect sidewalks to clear up. But for how long? The city says this is just a pilot program and is expected to last for two years.

"Rather than just studying things, we want to actually put things on the ground and see how it works. That's really the best way to move forward," said Garrity.

If the project goes according to planned the city expects it's pilot program to be put in by the end of the year.


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