HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- To help alleviate traffic congestion and protect public safety, the city and event sponsor will provide off-site parking and bus transportation if the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave surf contest is held soon at Waimea Bay.
The event sponsor and Turtle Bay Resort will provide limited free public parking at Turtle Bay, along with free shuttle service to and from Waimea Bay Beach Park. Free public parking will also be available at the city's Mililani Park and Ride facility, and at Haleiwa Alii, Haleiwa, and Kaiaka beach parks, along with public bus service to and from Waimea Bay.
Route 52 buses will begin leaving from Ala Moana Center at 5 a.m., and from Mililani Park and Ride at 5:15 a.m. Route 62 buses will begin leaving from Ala Moana Center at 5:35 a.m., traveling through Wahiawa before proceeding to Waimea Bay. Shuttle buses will run from Haleiwa Alii, Haleiwa, and Kaiaka beach parks approximately every 20 minutes throughout the day. Bus fares are $2.50 for adults, $1.25 for youths 17 or younger, and $1.00 for seniors 65 or older.
The contest may be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Thursday, Jan. 20, subject to surf conditions. Very heavy traffic is expected on the North Shore, and the public is encouraged to avoid using private vehicles in the area if possible. Motorists are advised to expect long delays, and there will be no public parking at Waimea Bay Beach Park or alongside Kamehameha Highway near the park. Barriers will be placed on both sides of Kamehameha Highway around Waimea Bay. No-parking areas and tow-away zones will be strictly enforced.
Mayor Peter Carlisle urged that spectators and others avoid using private vehicles in the area if possible, and instead use buses or bicycles, or walk. "We need to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible to ensure that emergency vehicles can access the area and that residents can get to and from their workplaces and other destinations," Carlisle said. "Let's enjoy this exciting event, but let's remember to be safe and have respect for the community."
The big waves that make the surfing event possible can also wash onto roadways to create dangerous driving conditions or even leave vehicles stranded, Carlisle cautioned. Motorists are advised to drive carefully and watch for pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and others.
"Traffic is extremely congested during high surf events, and first responders need the public's cooperation in clearing the roads so that emergency vehicles can get through to the beach and surrounding areas," said City Ocean Safety Administrator Ralph Goto.
The event will be broadcast live on KWHE-TV 14-Oceanic Cable 11, Oceanic Digital Channels 1250 and 250, and at www.quiksilver.com.
Related story: High surf warning for north and west shores