City, state target solutions to traffic mess at Laniakea

Laniakea - Kamehameha Highway traffic

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A traffic light, crosswalk, even a tunnel. Those have been some of the possible solutions to the traffic mess at Laniakea on Oahu’s North Shore.

Now, after years of talk, the city and state are targeting specific short and long-term solutions.

“It’s really, really frustrating,” Pupukea resident Greg Talboys said.

“I know it does get slow in this area,” Hawaii Kai resident Jan Cadena said.

But it’s pretty normal for Kamehameha Highway, just past Haleiwa town. On Friday at around 1 p.m., traffic was a mile out.

“It was really hard for us to come here,” visitor Teri Dalton said.

“It takes me seven minutes to get to my house from Haleiwa to my house in Pupukea. Right now, on any given day coming from Haleiwa to my house, it’s 45 minutes to an hour,” Talboys said.

Laniakea has become a popular spot to check out green sea turtles. Cars and tour buses double parked on the mauka side of the road with people zipping back and forth across the highway.

“Yeah, it’s pretty dangerous. You don’t want the kids to get run over,” Wahiawa resident Mako Menor said.

All of the chaos slows down traffic in both directions.

“We’ve actually had conversations amongst neighbors and stuff, trying to put together money with the residents for a special fund to hire a police officer,” Talboys said.

The plan is to realign this portion of the highway and offer parking on the other side of the road, right next to the ocean.

“The traffic is going to flow easier,” Menor said.

It’s in the preliminary stages and could take years to complete since it involves different agencies. So in the meantime, the city and state have discussed limiting the parking by putting concrete barriers up in the dirt area, or getting rid of the parking altogether.

“We’re tourists, we’re not locked into anything. If I had a 9 to 5 job and I had to get somewhere, this could be a huge problem,” visitor Carl Dalton said.

“I’d do it again. Even with traffic,” Teri Dalton said.

But people who live or work in the area just want something to be done.

“We’re begging for it. Everybody is,” Talboys said.

It could be another five years before a permanent solution is put in place.

Right now, an environmental assessment of the road realignment is being done.

 

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