As residents and visitors alike know, a trip across Oahu's north shore on any given day, let alone on a weekend, can be an exercise in frustration and futility, with cars backed-up for miles at choke points like Laniakea, Chuns, and Sunset Beach.
For many local residents, it makes day-to-day life, whether getting to work on time, picking up the kids from school, going to the market, or surfing a wave, a nightmare. And for visitors, it makes Hawaii feel about as appealing as a vacation on a Los Angeles freeway.
The problem is complex – affected by a growing population, increases in tourism, and other pressures - but the biggest obstacle to finding a solution has been the lack of cooperation between the overlapping authorities of the State and the City and County of Honolulu, as well as a lack of coordination in developing and implementing real solutions.
Over the past four years, with two different Republican representatives in the State House, the problems have only grown worse.
On Tuesday, November 8, voters on the north and windward shores have an opportunity to move things in a positive direction. Putting a Democrat in the District 47 seat, able to work closely with the region's Democratic Senator, means that solutions are much more likely to be found, funded, and delivered.
In fact, these two Democrats – highly respected State Senator Gil Riviere and smart, energetic House candidate Sean Quinlan – both of whom have built strong relationships in communities from Waiāhole to Waialua, could be a real powerhouse, working in partnership with the State's majority party leadership to bring much needed attention to a region that has been neglected for far too long.
Sen. Riviere has been working with the Department of Transportation, North Shore Chamber of Commerce, and other agencies to develop realignment possibilities for Kamehameha Highway, and Quinlan has been involved with a community coalition that has developed a detailed plan to alleviate traffic and sustain the deteriorating shoreline at the most troublesome bottleneck, Laniakea Beach.
We know what hasn't been working over the years. It's time to give the promising alternative a chance.