APEC questions answered

By Ramsay Wharton – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - We asked and you responded. We received lots of questions regarding APEC, but most of them had to do with traffic and road closures.

"The most severe traffic challenges are not behind but ahead of us, said Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle during his opening remarks on the city's third APEC briefing this week.

That's because Hawaii and the US government are now responsible for the well being of the world's most important leaders as they begin to arrive in the islands.

On Facebook, viewer Kaila Tolentino asked, "What days are they planning on shutting the H1 freeway down?

Mayor Carlisle said, "Starting as early as tomorrow and continuing through the weekend there will be multiple occasions where law enforcement must temporarily block roads to allow certain dignitaries in town for APEC to travel securely throughout Oahu.

He said that in accordance with national security requirements, "Specific roads are yet to be determined by the Secret Service but this could include major roadways such as the H1 freeway, and Nimitz highway.

Kahea Soberano posted part this question on Facebook, "Did they adjust the timing of the traffic lights at all?"

Wayne Yoshioka, director of Department of Transportation Services said yes.

"When there was significant congestion on S. Beretania and some of the other streets, the traffic management center was intervening and actually updating the timing of the traffic signals to expedite traffic the best they could."

Also via a Facebook post, Mary Zane wondered, "Why do they allow parking on the left side of Beretania if they know it's going to be backed up?"

"Were trying to strike a balance, because again there are businesses on Beretania," said Yoshioka. "We're trying to accommodate them while we're processing traffic thru that corridor. Its a work in progress," he continued. "If it turns out that the parked cars on the left side of Beretania are causing more friction then necessary then we will modify plans to the parking there."

In addition, drivers should also prepare for delays into Waikiki from Ala Moana near the new fenced barriers prepositioned for the Hale Koa Security Zone.

Mayor Carlisle said, "The whole idea is flexibility and patience and not to believe that the sky is falling, the sky is falling because these inconveniences are going to be here for a short duration of time, but the benefits are very large."

When it came to viewer concerns about whether they'd see the benefits of the projected $120 million dollar boost to the local economy, the Mayor said we won't get the official numbers until once APEC is finished and all the expenses have been accounted.

"My suggestion is that the benefits are remarkable, said Carlisle. "Every time that I'm calling the mainland now, people are asking about it and then they're asking who's going to show up. And I start listing presidents, prime ministers, sultans, you name it and they are just absolutely amazed. So, it gives us tremendous exposure by word of mouth alone."

The Mayor said, how Honolulu performs during APEC will determine its future ability to serve as an international venue for business and politics.

"If someone is coming from China who wants to meet somebody from Peru, we want them to be able to come here and we'll be prepared to deal with them on a much smaller scale and that willultimatelyy give us the type of advantages we want to get from APEC which is to emphasize our global role and the potential to being the "Geneva of the Pacific."

Other information learned from this morning's briefing:

Trash pickup has been moved up to 4:30 a.m. for the convention center area today and Saturday, Nov. 15th. Director ofEnvironmentall Services, Tim Steinberger, also noted that bulky pickup may be delayed for residents living in the Makiki, Punchbowl and Punahou areas this week.

He added that it's also possible they may move up the rescheduled bulky pickup date that was changed from Saturday, November 12th, to Tuesday the 15th, to Monday, the 14th, but that decision won't be known until tomorrow.

Keep submitting your APEC questions and we'll keep answering them throughout our APEC coverage on Hawaii News Now.

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