Some North Shore residents hold protest at Laniakea, ask for safety and solutions

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Some North Shore residents held a protest at Laniakea on Sunday.

Lawmakers and residents say they want solutions for the traffic situation and are urging the state to make the area safe.

The protest being held after a 10-year-old boy was hit by a car while crossing busy Kamehameha Highway two weeks ago.  

On Sunday, some residents used their cars to block others from parking.

“As a community, we feel like we’re being left out, our roads are terrible, this has been over a decade and people are fed up,” said North Shore resident John Bilderback.

Many residents say they sit in gridlock traffic daily and plan their day around what they call “turtle traffic.”

One resident said it takes 45 minutes to an hour to travel three and a half miles from the Haleiwa bypass to Waimea Bay on a weekend.

“Saturday and Sunday is one thing but this is a daily occurrence,” said resident Jim Quitan.

Even the keiki are tired of the traffic.

Kaiano Costa, 11, said there are turtles at every beach on the North Shore and people should go to other places to see them.

Many residents also want to see the concrete barriers come back. They say the barriers worked and it kept people safe.

“I’d like to see the barriers put up at least for a temporary solution,” said Quitan.

“The resolution is sitting in front of us, we don’t need $65 million to figure out how to block the area there, the barriers are there push them back,” said North Shore community board member Raquel Hill.

“One little boy getting hurt like that is unacceptable, there’s no reason that should have happened none whatsoever,” she said.

The state Department of Transportation also said the accident could have been avoided if the barriers were still in place. However, the state was sued by a group of surfers in 2014 and the barriers came down in 2015. Since then lawmakers and residents have proposed dozens of solutions.

“We’ve been patient, we’re inconvenienced, we try not to grumble about it, we know the tourists want to come here and we understand that but at the same time we’re the number 2 tourist destination on Oahu,” said Bilderback.

“We’ve been waiting for about 15 years for something to be done here and the most cynical of us have said it’s going to take somebody getting hurt and just recently we had a little kid get hurt and that really struck our community as a time to act,” he said.

But there could be a temporary solution coming soon with the help of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“[HTA] will come in with some grant monies and some of the ideas that could be used could be temporary crossing traffic lights to support crossing guards,” said Sen. Gil Riviere (D) Kunia, Haleiwa, Kaneohe.

“They’re helping to facilitate that and I have some hope we’re going to make some progress finally,” he said.

Rep. Sean Quinlan (D) Waialua, Haleiwa, Kaaawa, told KHON2 that the city has indicated that they might be able to provide some mobile traffic lights at Laniakea, similar to what’s been installed at Mauna Kea. They’re waiting on a response from the City Department of Transportation Services. Rep. Quinlan said that response could come within the next two weeks.

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