Several Hawaii surfers and residents are suing the state in response to the Department of Transportation’s removal of public parking at Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s North Shore.
The DOT blocked off the sandy parking lot last week in an effort to keep traffic flowing along the two-lane highway and discourage pedestrians from crossing the street.
Hundreds of cars had used the parking area each day as tourists flocked to see turtles lounge on the sand and locals frequented the popular surf break. The pedestrians crossing to and from the parking lot often brought traffic to a standstill, frustrating residents and spurring the state to action.
But the complaint filed Thursday alleges that the barriers are limiting beach access. One of the plaintiffs, Bill Martin, uses a wheelchair and said the barricades make it harder for him to unload his gear and get to the beach to surf.
The lawsuit also argues that the state should have obtained a special management area permit and completed an environmental assessment before installing the barriers.
The DOT declined to comment on pending litigation.
Along with Martin, the plaintiffs include a group of residents called Save Laniakea Coalition; surfers Reno Abellira, Jock Sutherland, and Keone Downing; and former body boarding champion Mark Cunningham.
Click here to read the full complaint.
For more background on the issue, read Kamehameha Highway Chaos: State’s Parking Barriers May Bring Lawsuit.
Tourists and residents visit Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach or Lani’s, on Oahu’s North Shore in December 2013. (PF Bentley/Civil Beat)
— Anita Hofschneider