City draws the line to thwart speedsters along busy Aiea road

A road in Aiea that’s notorious for speeding will be getting a face lift to slow drivers down.

The speed limit on Kaonohi Street is between 25 and 30 miles an hour. Residents say many drivers go much faster than that. So to encourage drivers to slow down the city is doing something they say has proven to help.

It’s something that can often go unnoticed, but can have a big effect on how fast you drive.

For years lanes on Kaonohi street in Aiea have been wide. One lane is more than double the normal width.

The city says the wider the lane, the more likely drivers are to speed. Jon Nouchi works with the city’s Department of Transportation Services and says engineers determined that narrowing lanes up and down Kaonohi street should cause drivers to have to slow down,”What we have found through our traffic engineering principles is that narrowing lanes reduces speeding in the neighborhoods by making the driver feel more cautious and they have to be more alert. We received a lot of resident input on excessive speeding on the street and if you look at the street it’s a very broad boulevard.”

The far lane on Kaonohi Street right now measures 20 feet across. That’s more that double what it will be when crews are done; all four lanes on the street will measure 10 feet. Something Panos Prevedouros, chair of the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Hawaii says is a proven method to reduce speed, “In general I will tell you that if it is a neighborhood street, narrow lanes to a point are actually good at controlling the speed, again you have to be careful of wiggle room and having sideswipes if they overdo it.”

Councilmember Brandon Elefante worked with the city on the lane narrowing, saying it’s a cost effective way to get people to slow down, “Basically looking at low hanging fruit to get paint whether it be edge of pavement markings to reduce the lane to ten feet, you can narrow it down so that you could lower the speed in the area.”

The city says it’s also used this technique in places like Salt Lake, Kailua and Mililani.

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