North Shore Gridlock

New proposal would remove parking at Laniakea

| posted on August 29, 2013
The problem: obscene traffic on the North Shore. The solution: that's the $1.7-million question. Photo: Joli

The problem: obscene traffic on the North Shore. The solution: that’s the $1.7-million question. Photo: Joli

While Honolulu may have been tagged as having some of the worst traffic in the nation, the gridlock occurring on Oahu’s North Shore—specifically in front of Laniakea—has left many North Shore residents fuming. Much of the traffic at Lanis is credited to the flocks of tourists indiscriminately crossing the streets to catch a glimpse of the Hawaiian sea turtles that frequent the beach. As a result, traffic grinds to a halt at Lanis in both directions, turning what should be a 10-minute commute from Sunset to Haleiwa into a trek that could last 45 minutes.

“I understand how beautiful Hawaii can be to tourists seeing it for the first time and I know just how important tourism is to our islands. But the traffic from the tour groups at Lanis has gotten absolutely ridiculous,” said the North Shore’s Fred Patacchia. “I literally won’t go to Haleiwa during the day because I don’t want to spend almost an hour-and-a-half of my day sitting in traffic to go a few miles.”

In response to the growing complaints from North Shore residents, state transportation officials created a 19-member task force equipped with a $1.7-million-dollar budget to study the issue and provide recommendations. After 18 months, their proposed solution was to remove parking altogether at Lanis.

“I’m kind of baffled that that was the best solution that they could have come up with. It almost seems like a knee-jerk answer. If this proposal becomes a reality, it’s not going to go over very well with surfers, who I don’t think are really contributing to the problem all that much,” added Patacchia. “I don’t have an answer on how to fix it, but I know that there’s got to be something with a little more forethought than simply blocking off the parking area completely.”

In a story reported in the Star-Advertiser, Doug Cole, an executive member at the North Shore Community Land Trust, also questioned the thought process behind the proposed plan to close off the parking lot.

“It’s good that people [tourists] are getting out there and enjoying a beautiful place,” said Cole. “But by eliminating parking at the area you’re not just stopping visitors from accessing the beach, you’re stopping residents of this island. I don’t think that’s right.”

To balance the needs of local North Shore residents while simultaneously promoting tourism in the area, it’s clear that transportation officials will need to go back to the drawing board and find a solution that not only alleviates the traffic for local residents, but also allows tourists and surfers easy access to some of the North Shore’s most iconic beaches.

  • mict2000

    Why not a fence or wall on the mauka side of the road with a signaled crosswalk and enforced jay-walking laws? That was free and took 30 seconds.

  • Dora

    Here’s an even better solution and this photo shows what obviously must be done.

    • Borg

      Agreed. I’ve been trying to find out who to send this plan to. Dora is right. Please send to the right people

    • MarijuanasSurfer

      I like your map, but I still think tour busses should be banned.

  • Duke Badass

    The solution has been simple for years. No parking on the ocean side AT ALL and then make the mountain side parking only wide enough for one long row of cars and no busses, Boom, problem solved. If pedestrian traffic becomes a problem put up a pedestrian bridge. I’m sure a bridge, some narrowing of the parking lot and some no parking signs on the ocean side would cost a whole lot less than the 1.7 million the tax payers just waisted.

  • Diego B

    A crosswalk bridge and a parking lot big enough to charge tourists, locals will have a sticker on there cars.

  • Tiago

    $1.7 million dollars for this stupid plan?

    I got the answer for free.

    The trafic is no generate just because the tourists crossing the road, is also because Lanis is the first beach in North Shore that you can actually see when coming from the H1.

    So why not plant trees on the ocean side to block part of the view also put a fence, and make the people cross the road by walking under the bridge?
    That would be no traffic lights and no need of stop to people cross the street!

    They could’ve done this already with $1.7 millions.

  • Morgan

    Seems like the problem is too many cars; parking lot at Laniakea won’t reduce the number of cars. So, make the North Shore a no/low car zone, vehicles for residents only. Lay some train tracks down. Trolly train station near 99/83 intersection with parking structure, and the same at Sunset point to the east (or near). Walk, bike, skate, train……country.

    • BornStoked

      Is it ‘Country’ economics that’s going to pay for your North Shore train?

  • Seaman

    Yeah…fuck tourism. I want to park my 18′ long Toyota Tacoma to check surf, by myself. Thats what cool dudes do, I mean brahs.

  • Paul the Litchfielder

    Nice job Dora! Now that makes sense, and doesn’t seem like it’ll deface the local environment that much. Just hope the state transportation officials are listening!

  • dickvandyke

    just move those turtles to turtlebay resort n thatsit.put the millions to buttons threatment.

  • .,

    More public transport?

  • Mik

    1. Designate the North Shore as a State/Island run North Shore Surfing Park.

    2. Designate a large area for public Tourist parking, located before the Haleiwa bridge — and have a large group of mountain bikes for rent, per hour/per day/per week. Exclusive entry to the North Shore Surfing Park would then be free on foot or by bike… And of course you can ride your own bike for free.

    3. The North side of the bridge would therefore be a car free zone — except for surfers. However, surfers must pay a daily fee for a parking pass. Not outrageous, but just enough to help support the park. This way surfers can bring all their boards in, and really be the focal point of the North Shore culture.

    4. Local residents will be issued a parking pass sticker each year, allowing them to park anywhere for free. So they can enjoy their normal lives.

    5. The same set-up would be created at the Velzyland side.

    6. Additionally, to facilitate people who want to drive from Haleiwa to Kohuku, or visa versa, they could possibly be issued a 20 minute pass to drive thru with no parking privileges. If this creates too much traffic, eliminate this privilege during peak season.

    I think that this would make visiting the North Shore a more enjoyable experience for everyone, because it would be like living in there 40 years ago.

    BTW: I have lived in Hawaii (Honolulu) and what made me leave was the traffic, which made surfing an ordeal.

    • WTF


  • Pavlo

    Traffic was never that bad during the late 80’s when I lived and surfed there and parked my rent-a-wreck Datsun right at Lanis. So here’s my suggestion: How about convert the Laniakea reef into an 8 lane highway with a massive multi-level carpark? Install enormous TV screens showing the surfing that used to happen at the famous surf break and charge a tourist entry fee to pay for the highway. Turtles watch for free.

  • wavejunkie

    move the turtles to wialua, its mostly military now anyway

  • Mark Gregory

    I know people want to keep country country and all, but why not a traffic signal with a crosswalk?