Would a North Shore Shuttle Help?
Every couple of years, I try to move an idea that could improve mobility along the North Shore, take some pressure off parking spaces and maybe even get a few cars off the road. A shuttle between Haleiwa and Turtle Bay that runs every 20 minutes and allows passengers to carry bikes, surfboards, and beach gear might do this.
Recently, I convened a meeting with the Department of Transportation Services, Oahu Transportation Services, Hawaii Transportation Association, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Rep. Quinlan, Councilmember Tsuneyoshi, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Neighborhood Board, and others to see if we could now explore a way to implement a shuttle service from Haleiwa to Turtle Bay or maybe Laie.
There are two regular bus routes to the North Shore: Ala Moana to Haleiwa (#52) and Ala Moana to Kaneohe to Kahuku to Haleiwa (#60). My suggestion is to end Route 60 at Turtle Bay (or possibly Laie) and establish a new route between Haleiwa and Turtle Bay (Laie). I am asking The Bus to look at the ridership patterns, shortening Route 60, and keeping some buses circulating on the North Shore instead of driving all the way back to Honolulu.
In the event The Bus cannot adjust the routes or increase frequency, I have suggested there may be a place for a new business to provide the shuttle service, or perhaps a public-private partnership could do it. The Bus takes bicycles, but not surfboards. With the great number of surfers moving around the North Shore, it would be ideal if at least short boards were accommodated.
So, here is the vision. A shuttle (van, trolley, or bus) moving in either direction every 20 minutes that allows residents and tourists to get on and off at Haleiwa, the beaches, Waimea Valley, Turtle Bay, (Polynesian Cultural Center). Passengers can load bikes, surfboards, etc., and move throughout the region without a car. No parking issues, less cars on the road, and no need for parents to drive their kids to the beach.
Tourists from Waikiki and Koolina would take vans or buses to Haleiwa, enjoy the town and move about the North Shore on the shuttle. Maybe they rent bikes. At the end of a wonderful day of adventure on the North Shore, they return to their hotels, never having needed a rental car.
Residents from Waipio, Mililani, and other parts of the island also take buses to Haleiwa, ride the shuttle to the beach and have no worry about parking. Employees would benefit with more frequent service and Turtle Bay guests would not need a car to have dinner in Haleiwa.
Many communities around the country offer this kind of public transit for popular, congested areas. We will never go back to quiet days of empty beaches and our traffic will only get more congested.Haleiwa needs additional parking and that is a somewhat related issue, but I think the time is right to start a North Shore shuttle service, or at least initiate a pilot project to test it out.Please let me know if you agree, disagree, or have any thoughts or solutions.