AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A miscommunication and lack of coordination between the Aloha Stadium, the NFL and local government may have worsened the severe traffic that plagued the H-1 Freeway the day of the Pro Bowl.
After Hawaii News Now inquired with the Aloha Stadium, spokeswoman Samantha Spain said NFL consultants made a point to contact all agencies – both the state and city – regarding traffic and safety. However, in an interview Monday on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he was not aware of any attempts to contact the city. Officials with the Hawaii Tourism Authority and state Department of Transportation also earlier said their agencies weren't contacted about game day operations.
Before the Pro Bowl kicked off on Jan. 31, the Aloha Stadium parking lot quickly filled to full capacity, forcing drivers to park elsewhere. The sold-out event created a traffic gridlock for hours on the H-1 in the eastbound direction.
"Our position is to move forward and continue to communicate with the key agencies to determine how we can further improve and refine the process, given the two major variables of a sell-out stadium coupled with a temporarily limited number of parking spaces for patrons," Spain said in an email. "We believe it is important for us to continue to evaluate the information that we have towards ensuring an efficient traffic and parking implementation plan for future events of this magnitude."
Caldwell said he also believes better coordination needs to be in place in the future.
"I want the Pro Bowl to come back," he said. "It brings about $30 million into our island economy. But this time, I want to sit down with them before the game starts to talk about, are they going to do the same things again? And if they are, we want the police officers to be out there to guide the traffic. But I think, lessons learned, better coordination so we don't have a repeat of the problem again."