HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some relief may be on the way for a Lanikai community that has been forced to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic exacerbated by a water main repair project.
Residents said traffic in the area has been a nightmare.
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They are calling it a health and safety issue. Officials say they are working on a way to alleviate the problem.
Anyone trying to get in or out of the Kailua Beach, Lanikai area in front Kalapawai Market was stuck in gridlock during the week of Monday, May 17, according to Lanikai Association president Tom Cestare.
“Once you get by Kalapawai, this is basically a cul de sac,” Cestare explained. “There is no way in or out after that. This is the only road in or out This is a giant choke point.”
That creates a public safety issue.
“Imagine, what if somebody had a heart attack. What would happen?” Cestare asked.
The Board of Water Supply (BWS) started work on the Lanikai Water System Improvement Project on Monday, May 10. It is slated for completion in 2022, according to BWS.
“Lanikai is disproportionately impacted than most communities on this island with regards to tourism traffic,” councilmember Esther Kia’aina said. “People are parking all over the place and as a result it has exacerbated the traffic congestion.”
A study by the Lanikai Association found that up to 4,000 people visit Lanikai Beach every day. Another 1,500 to 2,000 visit for the popular pillboxes hike. That does not even count those visiting Kailua Beach or the thousands who live, work and go to school in the area.
Construction runs Monday thru Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but they were not working during the afternoon of Friday, May 21.
KHON2 needed to know the reason.
“I would like to think it’s because they didn’t want a repeat of what happened,” Kia’aina said.
She met with the City Department of Transportation Services (DTS) and the BWS to discuss a plan.
“We’re working out the details on re-instituting parking restrictions in Lanikai,” Kia’aina explained.
KHON asked Cestare: “How much will that help?”
“That remains to be seen,” he replied. “But I think it’s going to help a lot.”
If it does not, Kia’aina said the City will have to go back to the drawing board. Perhaps enforcing the “Local traffic only” message displayed on the digital electronic signs near Kalapawai Market and Lanikai.
A spokesperson for DTS said they are working with BWS on possible traffic modifications.