LANIAKEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) –
North Shore residents fed up with traffic around a beach known for its turtles are now taking matters into their own hands.
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Around 50 protesters showed up to Laniakea Beach with signs on Saturday to speak out against tourist traffic.
The protester’s cars completely blocked off a popular road shoulder so no one else could park on the Mauka side of Kamehameha Highway near Laniakea Beach.
State Rep. Sean Quinlan was part of the group demanding action regarding the area’s traffic problems.
“It’s been going on for about 30 years and the local residents have finally had enough, so they are shutting it down,” Quinlan said.
In 2013, the Department of Transportation installed concrete barriers to keep people from parking on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway, as well as discourage jaywalking to the beach side, and these barriers are believed to be the cause of major traffic delays.
A year later, a group sued the state because it didn’t obtain the necessary permit, and the barriers were taken down and replaced with no parking signs that most people ignore.
“They’ve created a situation where we have thousands of people crossing the road in a haphazard fashion. Risking their lives and our lives and creating an incredible amount of traffic,” Quinlan said.
Liam McNamara has lived on the North Shore for 40 years and has heard just about every suggestion to help deal with traffic, everything from a bypass road to underground tunnel.
But he thinks informing tourists about the do’s and dont’s before they get there could make a difference.
“There’s definitely easy solutions to these problems if the city and county and state would get off their butt and do something about it,” McNamara said.
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Saturday’s protest was an unpleasant surprise for tourists.
“I was a little offended. Yeah, I felt like it was against us that are trying to enjoy the island and everything that it has to offer,” said Bruna Detuskreis, a tourist from Brazil.
Myrna Thurber and her family were on the beach visiting from Idaho. She understands why locals are upset, but says she’s focusing on the quality time she gets with her family.
“I just thought that we contribute to them a lot, to their income and that they would be more happy to see us,” Thurber said.
Hawaii News Now reached out to DOT and city officials, but they weren’t able to return our calls on Saturday.
The group protesting says at the very least, they’d like to see the concrete barriers put back in until a more permanent solution is found.
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