Residents demanding answers as parking and traffic problems at Laniakea persist

Residents demanding answers as parking problems at Laniakea persist
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

LANIAKEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been nearly a year since the state posted no parking signs at a dirt lot across Laniakea Beach, but persisting traffic problems and lack of enforcement are leaving residents demanding answers.

In 2013, the state Department of Transportation installed concrete barriers hoping to decrease pedestrian foot traffic across Kamehameha Highway and ease traffic congestion in the area.

But in 2014, a group called Save Laniakea Coalition sued the state saying it didn't obtain the necessary permits. They won the lawsuit and the barriers came down last August.

State officials replaced them with "No Parking" signs, but residents like Kame Spencer say they're useless.

"It will mess up tourism as they say, but if we were to park there like 8 or 9 at night, the cops will harass you if you're a local person," Spencer said. "But if you're a tourist looking at the turtles they don't say anything."

In February 2016, the DOT asked for public input on various proposals for how to address the ongoing traffic flow problems in Laniakea.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board came up with a plan that includes a wiggle road and a parking lot on the makai side of the highway.

"The cheapest most common sense solution is to move the parking lot to the makai side of the road so people don't have to cross anymore," said Sean Quinlan, Candidate for State Rep. District 47.

It's been five months since then and residents believe state and city officials are dragging their feet.

"We haven't heard anything from the state or DOT and it's unfortunate because in the conversations the community has had with the DOT, we've either heard they don't know when they're going to get to us."

Honolulu Police say they haven't been ticketing motorists who are illegally parked in the area due to a jurisdiction question.

HDOT said its planning to publish the Draft Environmental Assessment in early 2017. The final assessment is anticipated to be published mid-2017. The EA must be completed first before HDOT applies for the Special Management Area permit with the City & County of Honolulu.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.