Revamped Rice Street

LIHUE — County officials are proposing incremental changes to Rice Street designed to make Lihue safer and friendlier for pedestrians, while improving traffic flow around the town’s core of historical buildings.

The Kauai County Council will be considering today a resolution to erase all six parking stalls facing the Kauai Museum and to add a crosswalk with rapid flashing beacons in front of the U.S. Post Office building.

Additionally, the administration is submitting to the council a second resolution that would limit parking on Rice Street across from the Historic County Building to Sundays only, according to county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka.

“By proposing to remove on-street parking in front of the Kauai Museum and across from the Historic County Building we are attempting to create a more efficient traffic flow along Rice Street,” she said.

During peak hours, those parking stalls get in the way of efficient traffic flow on Rice Street, Tokioka said.

Similar to the stalls in front of the museum, the stalls in front of the Historic County Building create a traffic bottleneck on Rice Street, especially when a vehicle stops at a green light to make a left turn onto Umi Street, she said.

To account for the loss of stalls on Rice Street, the administration is planning to provide additional museum parking within the Lihue Civic Center lot, and to create additional on-street parking along Umi Street, according to Tokioka.

The crosswalk proposed in front of the U.S. Post Office would be in line with the realignment of Rice Street entrance to the Lihue Civic Center parking lot, she said.

“This new crosswalk will allow pedestrians to move more efficiently between the Civic Center and the post office and nearby businesses,” Tokioka said.

Recently, the county closed Eiwa Street for a couple of reasons.

One was to test the traffic impacts of the Lihue Town Core Plan proposal to close Eiwa Street to make the Lihue Civic Center “campus” a walkable area, she said. The other was to provide additional parking during improvements to the Lihue Civic Center, replacing the stalls lost during construction.

The closure of Eiwa Street is not permanent — it is expected to reopen once the renovations to the Lihue Civic Center parking lot are complete, according to Tokioka. The time frame for the improvements to be complete is sometime between December or January, but it could change depending on the weather, she said.

“However, the Lihue Town Core Plan does make a long-term recommendation that Eiwa Street be closed,” Tokioka said. “At the present time, there is no timeframe for the permanent closure of Eiwa Street.”

Resolution 2013-60 is on the council’s agenda today, with the meeting starting at 8:30 a.m. Visit www.kauai.gov/webcastmeetings and click on the council’s agenda for more information.

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