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Over the years, the traffic jams near Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s North Shore have become just as persistent as the green sea turtles finding refuge in its sandy cove. The stretch of Kamehameha Highway the only way in and out of the North Shore and gets infamously backed up from people crossing to see the turtles and those driving past to check the surf.
The beginning of the backlog on Kamehameha Highway, about 2 miles from Laniakea Beach.
This winter, we’ve been surfing North Shore almost every weekend, experiencing this bumper-to-bumper traffic first-hand. It wasn’t uncommon for the line of cars headed toward Laniakea from Haleiwa to extend a few miles back, past the town’s famous welcome sign. We’d chug along for nearly 20 minutes, joking that it would be faster for us to get out and walk and watching commuters on bikes whiz right past. Unfortunately, cars going the opposite direction get no reprieve and become tangled in the same traffic mess as well.
It is becoming more apparent that as the popularity of Laniakea increases, as a surf spot and a turtle vista, so will the traffic logjam. Longtime residents agree that this is the worst it has ever been, and every time we drive this way, I shout (sometimes out the car window), “THEY NEED A TRAFFIC LIGHT!!!”
Apparently, someone heard me. I came across a recent news story mentioning an advisory group that will consider options to alleviate the traffic at Laniakea. A traffic alternative study will also be conducted to review the possibility of having a bypass, overpass, underpass, crosswalks and traffic lights.
Hawaiian green sea turtles are the main attraction at Laniakea Beach, bringing in hoards of people everyday.
Because these solutions won’t take affect until several years from now, we can only look to short-term solutions in the meantime. Visitors anxious to check out the turtles at Laniakea should be extra careful when crossing the street and do so in groups, rather than inpidually. Drivers should also be on guard for pedestrians in this area. If they’re more eager to see the waves than the turtles, then it’s best to pull over.
LANIAKEA BEACH • 61-676 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712