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Ready to go

After months of preparation, officials say the city is primed for its place in the Asia-Pacific spotlight

By Dan Nakaso

LAST UPDATED: 10:09 a.m. HST, Nov 08, 2011

State and city officials declared Honolulu ready for the biggest international event ever held in the islands but warned drivers that Monday's relatively light traffic might not continue for the rest of this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Barricades went up around the Hawai'i Convention Center and throughout Waikiki Monday afternoon, and Mayor Peter Carlisle warned people to be prepared for security checkpoints and congestion, especially around Waikiki.

"If people can avoid traffic," Carlisle said, "they should take the opportunity to avoid it."

City officials have created a special APEC link at honolulu.gov with various APEC-related information, but Carlisle said security restrictions will be unpredictable in Waikiki.

State and city officials have been making plans for this week for months, Carlisle said, "and now is the time where the rubber meets the road."

The heavy work of the APEC summit begins today with the APEC Business Advisory Council Conference, a gathering of private business representatives who will make recommendations on the business sector's priorities and concerns; the APEC Senior Finance Ministries Meeting of officials focused on APEC regional financial issues; and the APEC Concluding Senior Officials Meeting, which is comprised of officials who will guide meetings of APEC ministers and economic leaders.

Outside the convention center Monday, Todd and Dawn Stoner of Puyallup, Wash., who are on their seventh vacation to Hawaii, learned why workers were putting up barricades.


» For road closure and security restriction maps and updates, go to staradvertiser.com/news/apec2011.

» View our our photo gallery
for more shots of APEC preparations.

The Stoners are in town with their 11-year-old son, Jake, and twins Brooke and Jordan, 16, and a dozen other members of their extended family.

On Monday they were planning almost daily trips to and from Waikiki to see the sights. But even after so many vacations here, Todd Stoner didn't know what kind of security delays to expect in the days ahead.

"We don't know what we don't know yet," he said, "but I'm anticipating hassles."

Fred and Julie Ikin of Sydney booked their sixth Hawaii vacation in January and would have timed their trip differently had they known they would have been on Oahu with 20,000 APEC visitors and foreign journalists.

"It seems like it's going to be a lot of restrictions, a lot of road closures,"•Fred Ikin said. "It seems like a big do -- that's what we call it in Australia."

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said he believes APEC will significantly alter Hawaii's image among the 20 other APEC countries sending their top leaders and delegations to Oahu.

"We're no longer a crossroads; we're now the anchor of the Asia-Pacific region," Abercrombie said. "We want Hawaii to now register in the Asia-Pacific region mind. That's what this opportunity is for, and that's what we're going to take advantage of."

State Rep. Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai) toured the convention center Monday and said Hawaii is ready for APEC.

"We've been waiting for decades to do this, and now we have the opportunity," Ward said. "This is the Hawaii we want to be, the epicenter of technology and a place to do serious business. This is our entree to the future."

State Sen. Glenn Wakai (D, Salt Lake-Foster Village) got on the road an hour earlier than normal from Salt Lake to get to the convention center by 9:30 a.m. Monday.

"I was expecting it to be bumper to bumper, but it was clear sailing," he said. "I think people are aware (of traffic issues) and will stay away."

State Rep. Tom Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana) walked from his home in Waikiki to the convention center on Monday and said this week will serve as a test of Hawaii's ability to plan for all kinds of contingencies.

"We're going to learn how far we've come with our tourism economy," he said. "And we're going to find out how we've done with protests, how we've done with traffic and with crowd control. ... For me, I plan to do a lot more walking."

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HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Just live up in the Koolaus, and nobody will care about nobody.
on November 8,2011 | 01:05AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Ala Moana was EMPTY yesterday. APEC will hurt Hawaii business.
on November 8,2011 | 05:11AM
9ronboz wrote:
I do business in Waikiki and its already hurting. State makes money but business suffers.
on November 8,2011 | 11:27AM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Barry's uncanny skill at killing businesses has been brought here to Hawaii, how many more ways will he conjure???????
on November 8,2011 | 05:20AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Nun because he will be defeated next year and will need to be relegated to religious relief.
on November 9,2011 | 12:34AM
grasshopper wrote:
OK. Now can somebody come and pick up my trash?
on November 8,2011 | 06:16AM
sukebesan wrote:
Traffic must have been real bad in Waipahu yesterday - my household trash was not picked up. Are the refuse trucks now coming from the Als Moana, Waikiki, Kapiolani area now?
on November 8,2011 | 07:14AM
Leewardboy wrote:
"If people can avoid traffic," Carlisle said, "they should take the opportunity to avoid it." Really?? What a stunning bit of advice. Basically telling everyone to stay away. As the kids say "Epic Fail!"
on November 8,2011 | 07:20AM
sukebesan wrote:
The mayor's refuse trucks are also avoiding traffic. That's why my household refuse was not picked up yesterday.
on November 8,2011 | 08:50AM
mitt_grund wrote:
The traffic on Kapahulu Ave mauka-bound. and the H-1 ewa-bound was really heavy. Didn't know there were so many people who live in Waikiki. Combined with other local traffic, Kapahulu traffic was more stop than go. It took me 15 minutes to go 4 blocks. Ala Moana Center -- only access was from the ewa entry points. There's going to be traffic congestion just to move in the shoppin center parking lot. A conference of 20,000 is not the problem. It's all the security measures and closures due to the VIPs that make APEC different. Essentially, a number of major arteries are closed, and what is open, is clogged with the traffic resulting from those closures. Maybe no future APECs. Having the president here is disruptive enough. Having 20,000 similar VIPs that need protection is overkill. And if the security people are all hyped up and steroid-loaded, more violence. Oahu can't support that. I'm home for the day.
on November 8,2011 | 07:53AM
Changalang wrote:
Almost over and probably the last APEC in Hawaii.
on November 8,2011 | 08:20AM
kennysmith wrote:
they just don't know how to let any of the trucks thru into waikiki to drop off the goods and services.
on November 8,2011 | 11:15AM
9ronboz wrote:
Why wasn't this planned on say Big Island? Political reasons perhaps?
on November 8,2011 | 11:28AM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Like most things the Government does, APEC is good for a few but bad for most.
on November 8,2011 | 06:20PM
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