End Turtle Traffic, a new non-profit, is planning a protest at Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s North Shore to influence and pressure lawmakers and the State Department of Transportation. The protest, planned for December 1st 2013, intends to bring attention to the planned closure of Laniakea beach parking.
The Hawaii State Department of Transportation announced at a community meeting in September that they would barricade the parking on the mauka side of Kamehameha Hwy just north of Haleiwa. This announcement brought widespread outrage from residents at the meeting. Access to the ocean was a concern that was raised numerous times. The barriers are meant to deter tourists as well as tour buses from stopping to see the endangered green sea turtles that frequent the beach, which often leads to constant pedestrian crossings. Many surfers voiced their opinions at the meeting and expressed concerns about restricting access.
Founded by Waialua resident Mike Biechler, End Turtle Traffic wants to maintain unrestricted access to Laniakea while still fixing the traffic issues. The stretch of state highway 83 between Haleiwa and Waimea Bay regularly slows to a crawl, especially on weekends and holidays. Residents have noticed an increase in both the length of time in traffic and the frequency of the slow downs. A number of solutions have been proposed and a task force created in January 2012 has many months before they announce any projects to remedy the congestion.
End Turtle Traffic wants a less restrictive less invasive project and has suggested crosswalks, pedestrian control devices and signs as potential replacement options to the barricades. The barriers are a demonstration project to be installed in January but have no time frame for an end of the project.
End Turtle Traffic can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Turtletraffic.