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What to do? Traffic deemed unsafe in Lanikai

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Sep 24 2013 10:39:00 PM HST

The city sent out its Director of Transportation to answer questions and hear solutions about the bad traffic in Lanikai from the community.

KAILUA, OAHU -

Traffic during weekends and holidays at Lanikai is getting so bad that the city has stepped in, in search of a solution. It sent out its director of transportation to Tuesday night meeting at Lanikai park to answer questions and hear solutions from the community rather than just imposing one themselves.

"Sometimes on the weekends I can't get anywhere because it's so backed up," said Kaitlin Schell, a Lanikai resident.

Residents say it can take up to an hour by car just to get out of Lanikai. Riding a bike is a faster alternative but it's not always safe.

"It's kind of upsetting and its also hard to even ride my bike around on weekends because all the cars are always blocking the bike paths and I've almost gotten hit by a car quite a few times because of that," said Schell.

"It happens all the time and it seems like everybody converges at the same time," said Derek Esibill, a Lanikai resident.

While traffic's a problem in many communities, the situation here is unique. There's only one way in and out in Lanikai. The overcrowded streets and illegal parking make safety an issue.

"If somebody had a heart attack, if somebody needed to go to the emergency room, it would be difficult for an emergency responder to get in, it would be difficult for a family to take somebody out," said Mike Formby, director of transportation services.

Another part of the problem starts near the Kalapawai Market, when beach goers cross the street adding to the slow down. The community proposed several solutions to combat these problems. Most focus on not allowing parking on sidewalks at all. Another option is stepping up on citations.

"Unfortunately at $35, most people to date have not conformed their behavior. If we increase fines, we think more people would follow the rules," said Formby.

If fines aren't enough, residents are also calling for an increase in towing. However, the city says "no parking" signs would need to go up first. Temporary signs have been put up on holidays, but some residents want them made permanent.

"Were here not to enforce our desires on the community, we want the community to tell us what they want and well do what they want," said Formby.

A vote was taken on the proposed solutions Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the community was split between two options. One that would ban parking on side streets in Lanikai, and another that would ban parking along the loop that runs around Lanikai.

Based on the vote, the city will not commit to anything until it hears from more of the surrounding community.

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