Traffic sucks. And traffic in Hawaii? That’s probably one of the worst combinations for anyone living on an island – nowhere to run. It’s a tropical nightmare, for sure, and around here, it’s usually a one-way-in, one-way-out situation for commuters who use the main freeways or highways.
Hawaii’s waters will have stricter security with APEC around.
And come early November, we’re going to be seeing a pretty serious logjam of commuters on our roadways. World leaders, including President Barack Obama, will be in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. This means heightened security measures on the roads, on the sidewalks, in buildings and even in the ocean for the Waikiki, Ala Moana and Ko Olina areas. An additional 20,000 people, including business leaders, journalists and supporting staff, will also be on the island for the meetings.
Visitors and locals should plan ahead when making their way around the areas. We’ve been warned well in advance, so hopefully we won’t be pulling out our hair come November (unless it’s out already). On the last day of the forum (Nov. 13), AVOID THE H-1 FREEWAY! There will be several closures throughout the day. Whenever there’s traffic there (much less road closures), the freeway instantly turns into a parking lot. If you must use the freeway, then lessen the driving frustration and bring some good tunes and snacks for the commute.
Take alternative routes or avoid the areas all together, if possible. Spend time exploring other parts of the island, like the North Shore or Kailua. You might as well enjoy the Windward side before Obama takes his annual Christmas trip there in December! More increased security restrictions will gift itself upon us for the holidays, whether we like it or not.
But back to the upcoming APEC forum. Here’s a breakdown of zones affected by security restrictions:
ROAD CLOSURE: Hawaii Convention Center – Nov. 8 to 11, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
SIDEWALK CLOSURE: Hawaii Convention Center – Nov. 7 to 13
NO PARKING: Kapiolani and Atkinson boulevards near Convention Center – Nov. 7 to 13
ALA WAI HARBOR & CANAL: restrictions enforced Nov. 10 to 13; includes 15 yds. east McCully Bridge
HALE KOA HOTEL: restricted zone; access to residents, business employees and those with government-issued passes
WAIKIKI OCEAN: restrictions extend about 1,500 yds. from shore between the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and Sheraton Waikiki; 11 p.m. Nov. 11 to 11 p.m. Nov. 12 (West Zone); midnight to 11 p.m. Nov. 12 (East Zone)
IHILANI RESORT: restricted zone; access to guest and employees
OCEAN FRONTING KO OLINA: restrictions extend about 1,500 yds. from shore between Barbers Point Harbor (west end; does not include harbor) to Kahe Point Beach Park; 11 p.m. Nov. 12 to 11 p.m. Nov. 13; no vessels or personnel allowed in zone
Bus routes during this time will also be affected, particularly those traveling near the convention center or into Waikiki. Because buses will be routed into side streets, street parking in those areas will be prohibited. Check www.thebus.org.
For more information on APEC security measures, visit www1.honolulu.gov/mayor/apec.htm#Free and www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/10/175912.htm.