Waipahu businesses get left turn lane back along rail line

Waipahu businesses get left turn lane back along rail line
Construction of the Honolulu rail

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A victory for several Waipahu businesses along the rail line.  Public pressure helped convince traffic officials to find a way to add an access point for customers.

Earlier this year, the left turn from Farrington Highway near Moloalo Street was closed off.  Businesses in the strip mall like Tanioka's Seafood and Catering had to cut back their hours because customer traffic slowed.

"We were all struggling, we talked to every single owner along the way.  We weren't the only ones," says Justin Tanioka.

The businesses started meeting with lawmakers, attending board meetings and petitioning HART to put the left turn lane back. The lobbying worked.

Tuesday, transportation officials held a press conference in the shopping center to detail how they were able to put the access point back.

"It was the line of sight, width of the median, the spacing of the cones," says HART Executive Director and CEO Dan Grabauskas.  Grabauskas says that particular intersection was also wide enough to allow the change.

"It does make a significant impact for this entire strip mall as well as for the businesses surrounding," says Jasmine Tanioka.

"It's faster to get in here," one woman told us.

"At least it's easier to get in here than it used to be," says a driver who bought lunch at Tanioka's.

Business owners from Aiea to Waipahu have complained about rail construction.  Some along Kamehameha Highway say they might end up closing.

Transportation officials say they are looking at other intersections along the rail line to see if similar arrangements can be made.  In the meantime, they are pushing a program called Shop and Dine on the Line which offers discounts to customers because they say, adding turn lanes isn't always an option.

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