City planning roundabout to ease Lanikai traffic problems

City planning roundabout to ease Lanikai traffic problems
Published: Dec. 30, 2014 at 9:20 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2014 at 5:31 AM HST
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LANIKAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Traffic coming in and out of Lanikai has been the worst some residents there have ever seen. A closed parking lot and busy holiday traffic are a couple of the reasons, but the City is working on solutions.

There is only one way in and one way out of the three mile Lanikai loop and at times residents say it can take a couple hours just to leave the neighborhood.

Lanikai and Kailua have been ranked among the best beaches in the world. And why not, besides the beauty you can even catch a whale breeching just off shore if you're paying attention. With the popularity comes people.

"It takes you hours just to get here and get out. It is frustrating," said Wink Arnott, Kailua.

Residents have complained they weren't able to get to the doctor or emergency room because of the backlogs.

"That's unacceptable. It's unsafe and we have to make sure we can keep the cars moving and reduce the amount of cars that go into Lanikai," said State Representative Cynthia Thielen, (R) Kailua, Kaneohe Bay.

One problem, the Kailua District Park parking lot is being repaved. It was supposed to be done by Christmas, but the City found problems with the original layer of foundation which kept it closed over the busy holiday season.

"While we are definitely not pleased that this project is not yet pau, what we found is that there was no base layer in the work that was originally done on the parking lot across from Buzz's," said Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember representing Windward Oahu.

A possible solution is adding a roundabout in front of the Kalapawai Market on South Kalaheo Avenue in order to keep cars moving. The plan is to keep cars separated from pedestrians and people pulling kayaks.

"Folks would still be able to cross the street but what the Director of Transportation Services is looking at is having folks cross the street in another area and having traffic actually inside that roundabout," said Councilman Anderson.

That project is still being designed and could be awhile before it's finished. Lawmakers are politely asking people to stay away from Lanikai over the holiday. They also say if you have to visit, expect delays.

"Perhaps park on the far side of the bridge in Kailua town and take a bike in, a bus in, walk in so we don't have miles of cars piling up leading to hours of gridlock," said State Representative Chris Lee, (D) Kailua, Lanikai.

The City and State have already budgeted money to design the roundabout although it hasn't been spent yet. More no parking signs have also been added throughout Lanikai loop.

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