Editorial: Bicycle lanes on Ward Avenue Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Those green bicycle lanes on urban Honolulu streets keep spreading. This week, the city opened protected bike lanes on both sides of Ward Avenue between King Street and Ala Moana Boulevard. The Ward Avenue lanes extend the string of bikeways added in recent years, including those on South King Street and South and Pensacola streets. A bicyclist can now ride from Honolulu’s Civic Center to Moiliili without dodging pedestrians on sidewalks or cars on the road. It’s heartening that, even while preoccupied with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city continues to improve its roadways in the Complete Streets model, with appropriate speed limits and adequate room for cars, pedestrians and bicycles to move together safely. It’s often forgotten how much of our environment is taken up by streets under the city’s jurisdiction — more than 1,000 miles and about 8,000 acres of right-of-way for public travel. Improving those streets can improve the quality of life for anyone who needs to get from Point A to Point B. A bike ride in a protected lane or a comfortable stroll on a wide, tree-shaded sidewalk can be far more pleasant alternative to fighting traffic and searching for an elusive parking space. Over time, the cumulative impact could be transformative, especially in crowded neighborhoods. It’s also in the public interest. As vehicle traffic increases and speeds up, so do accidents. The state recorded 60 traffic fatalities from Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HIDOT). That’s three more than at the same time in 2020. And while traffic hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, it’s getting there. “We’re still 3% to 5% lower than pre-pandemic levels on a couple routes and 10% to 12% lower on others, but in general we’re back,” said Ed Sniffen, HDOT deputy director for highways. Of those 60 fatalities, 21 involved motor vehicle occupants; 16 involved pedestrians; 22 involved motorcycles, mopeds and scooters; and one involved a bicyclist. Thirty-four of the fatalities were on Oahu. The city is continuing its Complete Streets program by updating its “Right-of-Way Widths for Planned Streets,” a process that categorizes city streets based on their use and how they can be improved. On Wednesday, the city released a draft of updated maps that include a new street type called Major Street, representing low-speed neighborhood streets where pedestrian movement is a priority. The public can review the maps at: https://808ne.ws/streetmap, and comment on them at email@example.com.