Construction moratorium proposed to ease congestion

Temporary construction moratorium proposed
Published: Feb. 17, 2016 at 4:01 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2016 at 5:04 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As traffic gridlock along the H-1 Freeway worsens, one City Council member is calling for a drastic measure.

A new bill introduced by Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga calls for a temporary ban on major construction in Aiea, Salt Lake, Moanalua and Red Hill.

"This is more of an extraordinary use of city police powers because you have a public safety type of problem that does require immediate correction," she said.

Fukunaga said that one recent national transportation report found that the area between Ala Kapuna Street and the H-3 interchange was the most congested in the state.

"What residents are most frustrated about is that they have complained about this problem for many years and it is getting progressively worse," she said.

The measure would turn the area into an "interim development control area" while the state works to complete a traffic study of the H-1 Freeway.

The moratorium would apply to all new developments that generate 200 car trips per day. The rail project, single-family housing construction and home repairs would be exempt.

The proposal comes as residents worry that plans to build more than 500 new apartments at the Moanalua Hillside condo complex will add even more congestion.

"What's happening is you're putting too many apartments, too many people and too cars in an already super saturated condition," said Moanalua resident Alan Schiller.

Schiller said it takes him about 20 minutes to drive from his home to the closest freeway on-ramp, a distance of only half a mile. He said he hopes the temporary moratorium will prompt developers to scale back their plans.

"There's just so many sardines you can squeeze into the can. So maybe you should take just a few more sardines and not 500 apartments and maybe make it 100 apartments," said Schiller.

The measure goes to the full council Wednesday for first reading. From there, it's likely heading to the zoning committee.

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