The Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter will join the North Shore groups End Turtle Traffic, DaHui and other concerned citizens to host a protest rally on Sun., Dec. 1, from 10:00am-noon, at Laniakea (aka., Lani’s) on Oahu’s North Shore. The rally will go on all day (9am-5pm), and its purpose is to protest the plans of the Dept. Of Transportation (DOT) to put in concrete barricades to block off beach access to the Laniakea Beach Support Park, an undeveloped park owned by the City & County of Honolulu.
With over 600,000 visitors annually, Lani’s is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii. Each day, scores of tour buses and vans and thousands of tourists stop by the side of the road to see the sea turtles, and this has caused serious traffic congestion and safety concerns in that area. But instead of putting up barricades to block off the entire area, Surfrider and other groups have come up with a number of practical alternatives that could help deal with these issues without denying access to locals and visitors. Here are five suggestions:
1. Enforce existing laws that prohibit tour buses from illegally parking and unloading/loading. This will reduce the congestion from large buses and groups clogging the roadsides and crossing at random.
2. Support the creation of orderly access points to the beach through the strategic placement of barriers on the makai side of the highway. This will limit random pedestrian crossings and prevent tour buses from illegally stopping at will on the makai side of the road.
3. Support the creation of a more orderly parking lot in the City Support Park by creating a clear Entrance, Exit and turn-around area in the 3-acre Park land.
4. Work toward the installation of a cross-walk that will line up with the makai access points and the ingress/egress from the parking lot
5. Work to create a by-pass road that will go around the mauka side of the City & County Park such that all of the beach parking will be on the makai side of the by-pass and no crossing of the road will be necessary.
Removing more than 75 parking spaces from the currently impacted beach location will prevent many people from being able to enjoy the beach. Barricading the public from their parks, paid for by their tax dollars, is simply not pono and will only create public resentment and legal challenges. Supporters are asking legislators and officials from DOT, the Mayor’s Office and Honolulu City Council to work with the local community to come up with reasonable solutions to the traffic and safety issues. These concerns can be addressed without denying people access to one of Oahu’s most popular beaches.
Founded in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation Surfrider has over 83 chapters and 250,000 supporters, activists and members in the US, including five chapter in Hawaii and thousands of activists. The Oahu Chapter is in its 16th year of activism and has been working on issues of beach access, water quality, coastal preservation and plastic marine debris.