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Uproar on the North Shore: Residents are fed up with slowing down in traffic

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Sep 05 2013 10:57:00 PM HST

Meetings were held to discuss the issue of traffic in Laniakea on the north shore.

HALEIWA, Hawaii -

There was tension at Thursday nights "talk story" community meeting at Sunset Beach Elementary. Residents have been dealing with a traffic and safety issue at Laniakea Beach for years and say a solution needs to happen soon.

"When there's traffic, it's just miserable. You're just sitting there watching near accidents, tourists almost getting run over," said a resident known in the community as "Top-hat."

Residents say this problem is getting old. The Department of Transportation has heard their complaints.

"The community is really getting tired of it and they're letting us know that they're just tired of this traffic and all the back-ups," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation spokesperson.

"It just got worse and worse, it used to just be seasonal when people were out here for the surf or turtles and now it's just reached a breaking point," said "Top-hat."

There was only standing room at Thursday night's meeting at Sunset Beach Elementary as a crowd of over 100 residents showed up. Representative Richard Fale and others took questions from residents on paper handouts. Some residents were tired of that as well.

"We are not here to discuss this way," replied an event organizer after a man stood up yelling a question out.

Many questions about solutions were asked including, "why not have HPD step up its traffic enforcement,"or "why not use a bridge to cross the highway." The question many residents cheered for was,"why not move the road where the parking lot is, and move the parking lot to where the road is."

"That is the liability that the state is not willing to take in yet those discussions stalled," said Fale.

Event organizers say there's only two immediate solutions that the city and state can agree on. One is putting in cross-walks, the other is placing barriers to block off the parking lot completely, to reduce the amount of pedestrians crossing.

The DOT is in collaboration with the Kamehameha Highway re-alignment project task force and has came up with that short term solution.

"We know this isn't a perfect solution but this is kind of a demonstration or pilot project that we're going to present to the task force at a meeting next month and get their reaction, get their feedback and see what they have to say and what the community thinks about doing that," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation spokesperson.

Some don't agree with the short term solution.

"If it completely blocks it, it's just going to cause more problems probably. They really need to figure out how to deal with the parking and with the traffic," said Top-hat.

The DOT says it wants to get the communities feedback to see whether or not residents even want to implement concrete barriers. It's holding a meeting with the community task force on September 25th.

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