New striping along street notorious for racing aims to slow drivers down

A street known for drag racing and speeding now has a new look.

Ala Napunani Street stretches from the freeway to Moanalua High School. It was recently repaved and restriped.

There used to be two lanes in each direction. Now it’s down to one, plus a bike lane on each side.

Restriping on Ala Napunani street has changed the road. Some residents say they see a difference, others say it’s too soon to tell.

But all agree something needed to be done about the speeding on that street.

Before the improvements, neighbors we talked to said they’d seen too many cars speeding up and down Ala Napunani Street, and too many crashes because of it.

“The Ala Napunani Street as far as if you’ve ever driven in that area, it can be a raceway track for those who have traveled down that street,” said neighborhood board member Chandra Kanemaru.

“They had four lanes, so they used to really zoom down here,” said resident Dean Funakoshi.

Now it only has one lane in each direction with a middle lane that serves as a two-way, left-turn lane.

“Hopefully it will decrease speeding which has been the concern, so maybe this one lane in each direction, it will slow people down,” said resident Joy Yanai.

The lanes are not as wide as they used to be.

“We found that narrower lanes, and this isn’t just in the City and County of Honolulu, nationally, standards dictate that narrower lanes cause a visual effect for drivers to encourage them to slow down,” said John Nouchi, Department of Transportation Services deputy director.

There’s also a bike lane on both sides, and some residents are asking why.

“To be honest, I’ve never seen one yet. I haven’t seen any bikes yet,” said Funakoshi.

“We don’t seem to have a lot of cyclists for the bike lane,” said Yanai. “I see cyclists going that way, but I rarely see them coming down.”

“I’m surprised they put it in because, like she said, there is not a lot of traffic regarding bikes,” said Mark Yanai.

The city said people might not see cyclists because there was no bike lane.

“Now that there is a lane, we hope that linkage of Ala Napunani — and that’s exactly what it is, it’s one piece of a network — Ala Napunani does connect upwards to Ala Aolani Street which does service all of Moanalua valley,” said Nouchi.

“It does help our community as far as the safety, as well as having traffic flow much better in the area,” said Kanemaru.

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