The other day I snapped this photo (above) on Olohana Street, turning onto Kalakaua Avenue, in Waikiki.
I was stuck at the light on Kuhio Avenue for about 10 minutes, then this light at Kalakaua for another nine. Almost 20 minutes. Just to move a block. And it wasn’t even during rush hour.
The traffic situation in Waikiki has become almost unbearable.
I’m always in Waikiki. I work nearby, I surf there almost every morning, I run around Kapiolani Park. So I know how bad the traffic can be.
And for some reason, in the last few years, it’s been maddening.
I blame the trolleys and tour buses.
I have no hard evidence, but it seems — and this is only my observation — there has been a huge increase in the number of trolleys and tour buses in Waikiki. And many of them are aggravatingly empty. Yet, they clog up the roadways and stop at city busy stops, often backing up traffic on side streets for way too long.
Case in point: Olohana.
Even yesterday. I couldn’t get through the intersection of Olohana Street and Kuhio Avenue. I watched the light turn red four times. And I was waiting behind three trolleys and a tour van. I finally gave up, turned west on Kuhio Avenue to get back on Ala Wai Boulevard to get out of there.
Back in June, KHON reported about the growing traffic woes in Waikiki, pointing at trolleys as one of the main causes.
The story reported that the mayor’s office was already getting complaints about it.
“We have so many now and we need some form of control here or we’re going to create even worse problems, I believe. We’re getting complaints from a lot of the hotels because it’s affecting their egress and access,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said to KHON. “Because they serve a good function, but do we need as many? Do we need them stopping all in one place? How do we manage it? Because traffic flow is important in Waikiki.”
So what do we do?
Trolleys and tour buses are obviously supporting our visitor industry. But when does it become too much? How can the city control the traffic in an area that desperately needs some kind of help?
Anyone got any ideas? Maybe the mayor is reading!
Also, they aren’t always the most responsible or courteous drivers. Just the other night I saw a driver operating his vehicle slightly erratically at night while he was obviously looking at some kind of electronic device. This was the same night that the young man was struck near Ala Moana.
How do we manage it? Simple, get HPD involved and have them ticket each and every one of these things if they pull over at a place that is not a designated trolley / tour bus stop. Why is it that you or I could get ticketed for impeding the flow of traffic yet, these things get a free pass?
I agree. These trolleys are ALL over the place. I live in Kaimuki and they are there too, with maybe 4-6 Japanese tourists in them, and I’ve seen them driving up/down Diamond Head road…amazing how engine-noisy, diesel-smelly and narration-LOUD these things are. And don’t get me started on how inconsiderate their drivers are…
First, Hawaii is dead economically without tourism. Second, because Oahu is top heavy with hotels in Waikiki that is where tourists congregate. Third, so many of us complained in the 1990s through the 2000s that not enough money was being spent to make it so 65% of the state’s economy could get in and out of the place easily and it all fell on deaf ears. We complained the Convention Center was not a good idea. We complained that the roads needed to be made wider, though in most cases this was not doable. Tried to get ferry traffic in and out of there. But everyone wants to send trolleys etc to Waikiki to pick people up because the tourists have the money to spend. Waikele has trolleys going in and out. Hilo Hattie used to have them every half hour.
Not sure how many hotel rooms have been added over the last 10 years, or how many businesses have located there, but having a monster Walmart right behind Ala Moana, Ala Moana’s growth, and no more roads is not a good recipe for traffic flow. And no one wants the tourists to go elsewhere because who else is going to pay for all those government employees 🙂
In the end, it has been a slowly developing problem. A couple more bridges over the Ala Wai might help. Kalaimoku to University. Hobron running on the other side of the HCC. Don’t know but think a study should be done. Oldest engineering problem in the world. To make the queue move more quickly need more lanes.
This is why I stay out of Waikik, too much traffic unless I absolutely have to.
There’s many other south shore surf spots and you can run at Ala Moana park.
We get them here in Kapolei, not only in Waikiki.
Trolleys and busses are the most obvious culprits because of their size. What I have noticed is an increase in the sheer number of cars on the road due to the hundreds of new condo units in the area. And more to come! All those new Kakaako unit owners will be coming into Waikiki, too!
Cat, it’s against the law to be using a hand held device while driving…. 🙂
… she wasn’t driving … traffic was so bad … she put the car in PARK … killed the engine … pulled out the key … and then snapped the photo …
… yeah, that’s what she did …