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30 days have come and gone since the controversial barriers went up at Laniakea

By Nana Ohkawa
Published On: Feb 21 2014 06:04:26 PM HST
Updated On: Feb 21 2014 08:02:11 PM HST

Some North Shore residents claim that the Laniakea barriers are ineffective at curbing pedestrian crossing and cause more traffic.

HALEIWA, Hawaii -

Thirty days have come and gone since the controversial barriers went up at Laniakea.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

Some North Shore residents are saying people haven't stopped crossing the road they are just doing it in different places now, and they are finding new places to park.    

It's a dangerous game of chicken as people wait for the right time to dart across Kamehameha Highway to get to the popular surf spot and turtle viewing area at Laniakea Beach.

"You have to wait until the cars come and then you can go. One car let us go and then the other one stopped," said Elizabeth Mercado, who is visiting from Florida.

"We have military convoys, full size tour buses, delivery trucks and emergency vehicles who come very regularly through this stretch and there's very little margin of error," North Shore resident Blake McElheny said.

The state Department of Transportation put 45 concrete barriers up on Dec. 23 last year, blocking parking across from Laniakea Beach. The Department of Transportation installed the barriers as a test to see if it would help with the traffic problem in the area. The department said it would only be a 30-day trial run.

Now it's well past the trial run and residents want answers.

"We haven't seen any kind of scientific study being done on effectiveness, and basically no input on what has happened since the initial 30-day period," said McElheny.

The DOT says it's still assessing the situation. But, critics have their own assessments. Some say the area's actually more dangerous.

People are now parking along the shoulder, opening doors onto the highway and it's harder to predict where pedestrians cross. Now they are dashing from both sides of the barriers.

"One of the things that's really dangerous is it has created a mud bog along the shoulder of the road on both sides," said McElheny.

Tour vans and trucks are getting stuck in the mud bogs.

"The barriers do appear to have improved the throughput of cars, but at what cost? And for how long? Is this really the plan? Is this the future? Do we just put barriers up where there's a problem?" asked North Shore resident Gil Riverie.  

There is a bill, SB 3035, that's pushing for a wayside park in the area and it would also realign the highway. Big wave surfers also have a lawsuit against the state, they want the barriers down.

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