By Ramsay Wharton
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - "Today is the test. And we're going to see what happens with the traffic today," said Honolulu City & County Managing Director, Doug Chin during this morning's APEC press briefing."
After today's commute, city officials will decide whether or not to alter the current APEC traffic plans. While there was hardly any traffic along Kapiolani Boulevard near the mall side of the Hawaii Convention Center, the other side of Kapiolani Boulevard at Kalakaua Avenue was backed up. Barricades kept traffic from moving past the Convention Center, while reduced lanes to and from Waikiki brought traffic to a crawl.
Expect the intersection of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani to be one of the bottlenecks throughout the APEC. There's only one lane in and one lane of out of Waikiki from 6am to 7pm thru Friday.
Police helped traffic and pedestrians keep moving, while bus officials posted route changes. By nine a.m. drivers seemed to be doing better.
Tiffany Magee of Kaimuki was on her way to work at the Cheesecake Factory in Waikiki.
"It's pretty quick, pretty smooth so far, until right now," said McGee when her vehicle came to the intersection.
Al Snel from Washington State found out APEC was going on when he arrived at Honolulu airport yesterday.
"We remember what it was like for us in Seattle and we hope it's not the same for you here," said Snel as he drove out of Waikiki this morning.
While some pedestrians didn't mind the changes or crosswalk closures near the convention center, others did.
Jose Abrante, who lives nearby, was frustrated that he had to walk 30 minutes for trash bags and baby food this morning.
"Got up. Couldn't drive out. Couldn't get a taxi out, so we had to walk to WalMart this morning and my son's crying for me to get back," said Abrante. "It's just an awful inconvenience."
The 7-11 seemed to be doing ok with some foot traffic nearby, while other businesses like Quicksilver are deciding whether to cut hours or shut down.
"It's like a ghost town, nobody's around," said Quicksilver Manager Craig Inouye.
"The thing is the officials went on record and told people to stay away from the area and that's our core business, the local people," said Inouye. "They should try to reciprocate or help us somehow by advertising and letting them know we're open for business."
Inouye believes most of the APEC visitors' money will be spent near their hotels.
"During the conference they've been bused in and bused out to their hotels, he said. "They've got functions planned for their spouses. I think after dinner, they'll probably have time to walk around but they're not going to come back to this area, they're going to stay in the Waikiki area and walk around."
Another city briefing is planned for tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. at Honolulu Hale. Sunrise on Hawaii News Now will carry it LIVE.