Honolulu could be on its way to lower residential speed limits.
By default, residential speed limits are 25 mph, but Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Esther Kiaʻāina wants it reduced to 15 mph.
“One of the number one issues facing our communities is speeding in residential neighborhoods. And it happens all the time,” Kiaʻāina said.
Her goal is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and injuries on Oʻahu.
Reducing speed limits falls under the purview of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Transportation Services, but state law requires engineering studies before doing so.
However, Kiaʻāina says the studies are unnecessary, expensive and time-consuming. Removing them would give DTS and the community more ability to reduce speed limits.
“I think I can tell if someone’s speeding or not, and whether it’s helpful for the safety of people in the neighborhood, especially children and kūpuna,” she said. “And I’ve come to the conclusion that the Department of Transportation Services should have the discretion to go and make an assessment on whether or not it should be decreased to 15 miles per hour.”
Kiaʻāina has introduced a resolution urging the state Legislature to remove the engineering study requirement, supporting a failed state Senate bill from the previous session that tried to do the same thing.
The council’s Committee on Transportation heard the resolution on Tuesday. DTS Director Roger Morton told council members that lower speed limits might not do much to reduce traffic-related injuries, but he did not oppose the measure.
“In doing this, the upside is a perception of greater safety. Sometimes, on smaller streets, 25 miles per hour may seem to be a high rate of speed. I believe it’s that, frankly, it’s more of a perception issue than anything else. But we’re not opposed to it,” Morton said.
The committee passed the resolution, which can be passed by the full council.