HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hawaii’s streets have gotten much busier lately, and some lawmakers are trying to find ways to ease traffic before another wave of visitors arrives at the islands.
Residents were able to drive freely when there weren’t many tourists flying in for most of 2020, but the return to normal also means the return of heavy traffic to some of the most-visited areas in the state.
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Hawaii representative Patrick Branco from Kailua said the number of cars on the streets was a problem for local residents.
“There is a lot of concern and a lot of our constituents have come forward,” said Branco. “I grew up, born and raised in Kailua, we were a sleepy little beach town and now we are a travel destination and you see tension between residents and visitors.”
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Tourism remains one of the state’s largest lifelines, but lawmakers said there are ways to reduce traffic jams.
“It was suggested by former Senator Laura Theilen that tour buses should be granted a grace period and that they should stop operating on Sundays,” said Branco. “And we’re going to see a withdrawal from the industry, but we have to make sure we’re doing what’s best for our citizens and our residents.”
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Branco said signs directing people to beaches could also help clear up some confusion on the streets.
In Maui, parking signs and $ 200 ticket warnings have not been posted on the Hana Highway to deter people from taking in the scenic views.
Senator Lynn DeCoite said higher fines and tow areas could deter illegal parking even more.
“Now that your car is here, on this base or on this seizure, you want this car,” DeCoite said. “You are going to pay X money and I think the bigger those fines are when you get your car back and I say $ 1,000 sounds great to pull the car.
Ultimately, these lawmakers said that solutions should be found with consideration for the people who call Hawaii home.
“I knocked on the street of a resident and she told me I had lived in Kailua all my life, but I am not bringing my daughter to Kailua,” said Branco. “I just can’t find parking, it’s too crowded, and it’s not the same experience, so we’re going to other beaches so these concerns have been around for a while.”