Beat the School Jam: Take the bus, ride bike
Notice more cars on the road today? That's because many public school students were heading back to the classroom Monday morning signaling the end of summer and the start of the new school year.
HONOLULU - Ready or not here they come. About 53,000 students are headed back to the classroom in the next few weeks, adding to your commute time in the morning and afternoon.
The state's focus is to keep traffic flowing. It says widening the zipper lane has helped tremendously. It believes that it can keep that zipper lane in working order.
"Hopefully nothing will happen we think we have all the parts on hand to keep the zipper open," said State Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami.
Windward Oahu residents now have an extra lane on Kahekili Highway to ease their commute.
But, if you are one of the thousands of motorists that has suffered through the rough patch of the eastbound lane on the H-1 Freeway, that work won't start until this fall, and won't be complete until next year.
Other projects like the Moanalua Freeway improvements from Halawa to Aiea, is behind scheduled because of weather-related delays. But the state director assures he is pushing to reduce that bottle neck in the Red Hill area.
"I am really looking forward to it because I am stuck in that every single day. So, believe me, if anyone is pushing to get this project done its probably me more than anyone else." said DOT director Ford Fuchigami.
There's no plan to alter work or class schedules, but the governor hopes. Growth at West Oahu will take some edge off the traffic jam.
"Enrollment at West Oahu is at its highest its every been and as we make more classes available that will help with traffic as well," said Gov. David Ige.
The city is encouraging more people to jump on the bus, or make use of new bike lanes in town and in certain neighborhoods. About 15,000 students take the bus now. Mayor Kirk Caldwell hopes more students will bike to school where it makes sense.
"These are things that are going to change how people get around in the future. You can use Biki Bikes. You have to be 16 or older, but high school kids could use it if they are in town," said Caldwell.
The city is encouraging the public to remember to download its Honolulu info app for traffic alerts. And a reminder to new bus riders -- there is now a Da Bus app that will track in real time.
"There is a map feature that allows you to click it and it will show it to you on the map where you ride is and when it will come,” said Roger Morton of Oahu Transit Services.
With more than a million cars on the road here on Oahu, transit officials hope you will find a new way to make your commute easier.