HONOLULU (KHON2) — Big changes may be coming to a popular North Shore beach and tourist attraction. I spoke to residents and a lawmaker who have varying opinions about the project.
It’s been the source of traffic jams and lots of close calls.
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Laniakea Beach on the North Shore, with its beautiful surf, and the turtles that come to rest along the shoreline, attracts thousands and thousands of visitors annually.
For years, the state grappled with how to handle the constant flow of cars and people.
Mike Lyons, Haleiwa resident said the parking lot and crosswalks aren’t good enough.
“(Pedestrians) expect the crosswalk to protect them. And when they traverse from one side to the other, they don’t even look they just walk cause they think the cross walk is there protection. it’s not” said Lyons.
The current configuration was completed in 2021, the Department of Transportation said it was a temporary fix.
The Kamehameha Highway Pedestrian Safety Project, Vicinity of Laniakea –is meant to be the solution to the problem.
According to the Department of Transportation, the plan “proposes to build a short realignment of the highway to improve pedestrian safety and relocate the route from coastal erosion.”
The realignment would shift the highway 80 feet further inland from its current location leaving space for visitors right next to the beach.
According to the plan, the re-alignment project would have space for up to 90 cars to park on the makai side close to the ocean.
Sen. Brenton Awa, (R) Kahuku to Mokuleia said it’s been a long time coming.
“It’s something that we on the North Shore know needs to happen. Because when there’s traffic, it’s hours of our lives are wasted families kind of pick up the kids from school,” Awa explained.
KHON: “Do you think this is really going to work?”
“I think so,” Awa said. “I don’t see why not.”
North Shore neighborhood board chair, Kathleen Pahinui said she’s cautiously optimistic.
“If we get this part of the road over now then it’s something does happen later. We’ve already made that shift mauka and we don’t have to worry about that section of the road,” Pahinui explained.
Not everyone is in favor of the plan.
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Mike Lyons, Haleiwa resident: “they documented over 180 cultural sites in that area. Why do we have to encroach on that area that’s cultural?” Lyons said. “I think in the end it’s going to create more issues and problems.”