Barriers go up blocking parking spots at Laniakea

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:47:03 AM HST

Crews began the controversial job of adding 45, 20-foot long barriers, blocking parking and frustrating drivers and visitors at Laniakea beach.

HALEIWA, Hawaii -

The barricades went up across from Laniakea Beach on Monday blocking spots used for parking and frustrating both drivers and visitors.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.

At 6 a.m., crews began the controversial job of adding 45, 20-foot-long barriers.

"It's a public safety measure.  There's just a lot of tourists coming by crossing the street and making it kind of dangerous," said George Abcede of the Department of Transportation.

An area increasingly popular for surfing, turtle watching and, at times, the only way around.  As you might imagine, that didn't go over so well.

"Yeah this is ridiculous.  I'm trying to get myself to Costco before work," said North Shore resident Deanna Cunningham.

"You know what, I can't believe they would restrict beach access," said visitor Eric Opple.

"You can understand the frustration of the residents that live here and the traffic jam and chaos here, but I don't know," said Barbara Ward of Malama Na Honu.

"There's a lot of people that want to see it fixed, but there's a lot of people who didn't want to see this as a short-term solution," said Mike Biecher of End Turtle Traffic.

Biecher says his group has collected more than 600 signatures in just the past couple of weeks from people who want something else.

He admits too many people at Laniakea Beach is a serious problem, but would rather see crosswalks, signs or a stop light.  Meanwhile, others disagree.

North shore resident Mike Lyon says traffic around the beach can back up for miles.  He knows a long-term solution, such as a bypass, is costly and time-consuming.

"A lot of talk, thousands of ideas, but finally the DOT and those responsible finally got something done," said Lyon.

The state says it wants to test the idea for about a month.  Then, see if it could be a long-term solution.

In the meantime, get used to the barriers and the traffic.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said he doesn't think this is the best solution either.

Both sides are expected to revisit the issue after the holidays.

The group End Turtle Traffic is planning a mid-January protest in front of the state transportation headquarters.

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