Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 |
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LIHUE — An upcoming meeting will give Kauai residents a chance to see what’s going on with the restriping on Haleko Road, where the county plans to create more bike and pedestrian space on the roadway.
The public meeting, hosted by Kauai’s public works and planning departments, takes place on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Lihue Civic Center, Pi’ikoi Building, conference rooms A and B. It will be a chance to see maps and hear the full details of the restriping plan from its organizers.
The project is in its conceptual stages and the county’s engineering department hasn’t done a full cost estimate yet. However, Kauai’s chief of engineering, Michael Moule, said he estimates a cost of between $50,000 and $70,000.
The project is part of the bigger goal of connecting Lihue through a series of bike and pedestrian paths.
“What we’re really trying to do is create a bicycle and pedestrian network throughout Lihue Town,” said Lee Steinmetz, the county’s transportation planner. “So if you work at the Civic Center and you want to go to the mall, you can ride a bike instead of having to drive.”
To create these extra bike and pedestrian lanes on Haleko Road, which runs from Rice Street to the Kukui Grove Shopping Center, the county has decided to work with what they have instead of adding more pavement.
“The overall concept is to take the pavement that’s out there and do what we can with that with no significant capitol improvements,” said Michael Moule, Kauai’s chief of engineering.
The plan for Haleko Road is to create both a bike lane and a pedestrian lane on the uphill side of the road. When the terrain shifts to downhill, the pedestrian lane will remain intact, but bicycles would merge into the flow of traffic.
“This design is predicated on (the fact) that there’s a low spot in the middle (of the stretch of road),” Moule said. “And whenever the lane is too narrow for bicycles and motorists to be side by side in the lane and there’s no shoulder, the law specifically states that bicycles can take over the whole lane.”
Basically, pedestrians would walk on the left side of the road from Rice Street until the terrain switches to an uphill climb. At that point, pedestrian traffic is shuffled across the street, using an updated crosswalk marked with flashing lights, and diverted to the right side of the street.
“Bicyclists would stay on the same side of the road all the way through,” Steinmetz said. “A pedestrian would always be (in the pedestrian lane), so a pedestrian would cross over (the street) while bikes would just stay on the side that they’re on.”
In addition to the bike and pedestrian lanes, the project adds two turning lanes: one at King’s Auto Center and one going each direction at Pua Loke Street.
The turning lane at King’s Auto Center would prevent the backup of traffic before the stoplight. Adding the turning lanes at Pua Loke Street will help reduce the potential for accidents.
“What we heard is that when people are trying to make a left turn where it is a double yellow line and one lane in each direction, they’d be facing each other and it’s difficult to see past those two vehicles (trying to turn),” Moule said. “(On the one side), there’s extra room there so people were passing on the right and this person making that left would almost get into a crash with the person going straight. “
The problem can be solved, Moule said, by restriping and adding a short, but effective, left-hand turn lane going each direction at that intersection.
“We’re not impeding cars in any way (with this project),” said Steinmetz. “We’re actually making some safety improvements for cars, but also making it better for bikes and pedestrians, and hopefully slowing traffic down a little bit.”
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