That did not last long. The police began ticketing parked cars at Laniakea on Friday, February 16th, and stopped writing tickets 10 days later. My office asked the police for an explanation of this abrupt change and received the following reply.
“The Honolulu Police Department shares the concerns expressed by North Shore residents and others who must drive past Laniakea or Turtle Beach. After issuing parking citations in late February, the HPD was informed of an agreement that had been made in 2015 which prohibits parking enforcement to take place for the duration of a lawsuit that had been filed against the City and State. The HPD is currently waiting for direction from city attorneys as the parties work toward resolving the lawsuit.”
The court ruled in 2015 that the parking barriers placed at Laniakea in December 2013 could no longer be considered temporary as they had been in place for more than a year and there was no plan to remove them. The court further ruled that public lands, such as the city owned beach parking area and beach access must not be unreasonably obstructed. As such, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was required to remove the barriers and follow the relevant permit approval process.
In the three years since, DOT has not completed the permit process, which they initially stated would take six months. As recently reported, DOT may be making some progress on the long-delayed traffic alternatives study and they may be trying to work around the permitting process to replace the barriers.
Meanwhile, we suffer through interminable traffic delays, people get angry and they look for ways to vent their frustration. Some blame a group of individuals who challenged the DOT on their temporary barrier project, but that challenge was vindicated by the court ruling.
A recent letter from DOT blames the problem on jaywalkers. This is curious because without crosswalks, there is no such thing as jaywalking, and DOT has steadfastly refused to consider crosswalks in this area.
The blame for lack of any solution to our Laniakea traffic dilemma rests entirely on DOT. They are the one and only agency with authority to deal with it. They have slow walked the alternatives study since 2007, refused to consider crosswalks and related alternatives, and failed to provide any interim solution such as installing barriers with parking off the highway on city lands.
Thanks to everyone who took time to share their observations of traffic flow at Laniakea during the brief period of ticketing. Most of the messages indicated that traffic flow was improved during the enforcement period. Some messages said there was little difference. Everyone agrees there is a problem that must be addressed sooner rather than later.