‘This is something’: North Shore celebrates a temporary fix at Laniakea ahead of bigger solution

After a month of work, the state has opened a new and larger parking area at Laniakea Beach.
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:39 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2021 at 12:50 AM HST
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NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a month of work, crews have finished work on a new and larger parking area at Laniakea Beach.

It’s a temporary fix to ease the traffic at the popular North Shore beach known as a place where sea turtles rest, but drivers and area residents are still longing for a more permanent fix.

Besides the larger parking lot, there are other measures aimed at increasing safety both in vehicles and on foot.

The new parking design, with several barriers and signs, are intended to funnel cars into one entrance and out through another, and funnel pedestrians to two new crosswalks on Kamehameha Highway.

In theory, this will reduce the number of random crossings that have snarled traffic here for years. However on the first day Friday, vehicles were still forced to stop for people in and out of the crosswalks.

“We’ll get a fell for how it’s working out, where people are crossing, whether they’re jumping over the barriers or going between the barrels” said Bill Saunders, an attorney for the Save Laniakea Coalition.

Drivers coming from the Waimea Bay side will also have to get used to the no left turn signs, since the one-way parking lot only allows entry from the Haleiwa side.

While there are concerns that some drivers will still make the left turn -- or even a U-turn down the highway -- residents say it’s worth a try.

“This is a highly visited area, very desirable, and anything the DOT does to improve the safety is welcomed,” said North Shore resident Blake McElheny.

It’s all a temporary fix while officials work on moving Kamehameha Highway inland.

Government been looking at two proposals, but is leaning toward the cheaper option of realigning the road about 50 to 60 feet mauka, with parking on the makai side so beachgoers will no longer need to cross the road.

“Well, they’re going to move the highway to where we’re parking, and we’re going to parking where they’re driving, which helps a lot,” said another resident, Bobby Robinson.

Transportation officials hope to be finished with the environmental documentation by the end of this year, and advertise the project for construction by fall of next year.

“We’ve been waiting 15 years for something, and this is something,” said Richard White, another North Shore resident. “Hopefully it’ll work. It could be better, and we’ll see.”

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