Campaign calls to 'relocate the turtles' as frustration grows over Laniakea gridlock

Campaign calls to 'relocate the turtles' as frustration grows over Laniakea gridlock
Updated: Jun. 21, 2017 at 9:12 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
Pedestrians walking across the street
Pedestrians walking across the street

LANIAKEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - North shore residents are fed up that nothing is being done to fix the heavy traffic near the famous "Turtle Beach" at Laniakea. Now, a campaign is shifting blame for the congestion to the turtles.

T-shirts that read, "Relocate the Turtles, Save the Traffic, Free Laniakea" were sent anonymously to Hawaii News Now. The shirts also list the names and phone numbers of three city and state lawmakers.

The campaign takes aim at the high foot traffic of visitors stopping at the beach to view the honus.

Visitors often cross the street from a dirt lot where cars park even though "No Parking" signs are posted.

Parking restrictions were put in place almost two years ago, but some feel they are ineffective because no one is enforcing the rule.

Sen. Gil Riviere who represents the area says half of the land is owned by the state, and the other half is owned by the city, so there is a question of jurisdiction between police and state sheriffs.

Riviere says residents have been waiting for years for the Department of Transportation to study the impact of building a bypass road to help alleviate traffic congestion. He says the money is there, but there has been no action by the department.

"We were able to get $15 million into the state CIP (Capital Improvement Project) budget this year to address and begin working at Laniakea, so there's $15 million. But I bet you the Department of Transportation will not pick that up, and if they don't pick it up, nothing gets done," said Riviere.

A spokesman for the transportation department says that $15 million is not additional funds. The money would be taken out of the department's budget for other roads, and that amount is not nearly enough to relocate the highway.

However, DOT says they still intend to complete the traffic study. They did not provide a timeline for the work.

As for the campaign to "Relocate the Turtles," organizers have not yet stepped forward to discuss relocation proposals.

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