NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The beachside parking lot at Laniakea, or Turtle Beach, will soon be off-limits. No parking signs have been placed along Kamehameha Highway near the beach so that crews can begin making preparations for the installation of barriers.
Emotions were high during a Department of Transportation special meeting September 26, 2013.
"The board, everybody. Watch this -- how many guys does not want the barriers?" asked Earl Dahlin, as several hands in the audience went up and the crowd began to applause. "Your job is to listen to us," Dahlin added.
Despite several contentious meetings, the state is moving forward with an unpopular plan to blockade the dirt strip off Kamehameha Highway to keep people from criss-crossing back and forth, most of whom are visitors trying to get a closer view of the turtles that gather on the shoreline. The constant jaywalking causes major traffic backups in the area.
No parking signs have already gone up and will be in effect for the next two days.
State Representative Richard Fale tells Hawaii News Now the Department of Transportation will leave the barriers up for at least a month, possibly as long as a year. He says community votes he's seen take place are supportive of using barriers as a trial measure.
"We all agree that this isn't a permanent solution but we understand that the severe traffic conditions out there on the North Shore is unacceptable and the status quo is unacceptable and that something has to be done," said Fale, adding officials will carefully monitor the situation once the barriers go in to assess whether they adequately address the traffic and safety issues.
One key criticism of the barriers is that surfers will not be kept away from Laniakea's surf break, especially during the winter swells.
Many predict the parking will end up spilling into nearby neighborhoods.
Hawaii News Now's calls to the DOT were not returned.