BY REP. RICHARD FALE – North Shore residents and transportation officials have been discussing proposals to improve Laniakea traffic for years, but so far no solution has been found, and traffic and safety concerns continue to worsen. After years of discussion, the Department of Transportation has decided to move forward with the installation of temporary barriers on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway to begin exploring options for traffic mitigation. “No Parking” signs were posted this morning as DOT prepared to put up the barriers, which will remain up for at least a month, and perhaps as long as one year, while DOT officials monitor the traffic flow and assess the effectiveness of this solution.
The installation of temporary barriers was initially proposed years ago to the Kamehameha Highway Realignment Task Force as a potential solution to traffic concerns in the area. The issue was revisited during a Task Force meeting this past September. During and after the last Task Force meeting, community members expressed concerns about these temporary barriers and I do understand concerns in terms of beach access, driver and pedestrian safety. I’ve spoken with many frustrated North shore residents and commuters about their concerns. While all parties agree that this isn’t a permanent solution, the community overwhelming agrees that something has to be done because current conditions are unacceptable.
Hawaii News Now reported live Wednesday morning from Laniakea Beach and will have a follow up story on tonight’s evening news. I also went down this afternoon to see how traffic was doing and talk with beach goers and drivers. I was pleased to see that, at least for today, traffic was significantly less congested and most people there were grateful to be able to drive through the area quickly. Please know that our office will work closely with DOT and the community as we work to find a viable and long-term solution. I’d like to hear from you about your thoughts on the barriers and Laniakea traffic so please be sure to take our survey at www.repfale.com