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North Shore residents, surfers sue over Laniakea barriers

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 3:18 p.m. HST, Jan 2, 2014

A group of North Shore residents, along with several renowned local surfers, filed a lawsuit against state transportation officials today to remove the controversial new parking barriers at Laniakea Beach.

The Circuit Court lawsuit on behalf of the Save Laniakea Coalition, argues that the state Department of Transportation should have obtained a special permit for the concrete barriers because Laniakea is in the state's protected coastal Special Management Area.  

The suit contends that DOT was also required to conduct environmental assessments of the barriers before installing them, to gauge how significantly the move would impact the public's access to the beach.

DOT officials said they were unaware that the suit was being filed today. They won't be commenting on any litigation, DOT spokeswoman Caroline Sluyter said.

The state installed the barriers last week to block vehicles from parking along a 1,000-foot beachfront stretch on the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway. The move, in part, aims to ease the North Shore's persistent traffic woes. Much of the problem can be traced back to Laniakea visitors who indiscriminately cross the highway there, often bringing traffic to a standstill.

The barriers come after years of study, community discussion and more than $1 million in state funding -- but little action. Opponents of the plan contend the barriers unfairly block beach access North Shore residents, and that the community deserves a better, more practical solution.

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