Improvements to a West Oahu Beach Increase Safety

Blake Lasconia
Blake Lasconia
Buffalo Keaulana
Buffalo Keaulana

MAKAHA (KHNL) - A popular west Oahu beach is now safer, thanks to some good old fashioned plumbing.

Until a few days ago, beachgoers at Makaha Surfing Beach had to walk across Farrington Highway to shower off.  Now they don't have to, but some have other concerns about the beach.

Beachgoers wash away salt water and sand after a fun morning at Makaha Surfing Beach.  They no longer have to walk to the other side of Farrington Highway, thanks to a newly installed shower area.

"I think it's way more convenient having them on this side than crossing the street, and worry about getting hit by a car and stepping on any broken glass or anything like that," said Blake Lasconia, a 20-year-old beachgoer who lives in Waianae.

Good news for Lasconia and his friends, but there are no bathrooms on the makai side of this beach.

That means beachgoers have to cross Farrington Highway to use the only bathrooms on the mauka end of the park.

People like surfing legend Buffalo Keaulana want a bathroom closer to the beach.

"The ultimate thing is to put a bathroom back here," said Keaulana, who won surfing competitions in the 1950s and 1960s.   "It doesn't have to be a great big one, just one you can maintain."

But some say this shower is plenty.

"No, this is okay," said Lasconia.  "Having the shower on the beach side is good. You can wash off, go right to your car. No need nothing else."

Keaulana maintains the beach has gotten busier over the years, and more cars mean increased danger for pedestrians.

"There's been some accidents, close calls," said Keaulana.

That's why he wants changes to keep beachgoers safe.

"It would be nice if they could re-route the road and keep this whole place as a beach," said Keaulana.

Like the way he remembers it when he started surfing here more than 50 years ago.

The Department of Parks and Recreation said putting a bathroom on the makai side of the beach would require a waste water system.  That can cost up to $700,000.

And the Department of Transportation said it looked into realigning that stretch of Farrington Highway back in the 1980s, but it would have taken out existing homes. So the plan was shelved.