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Traffic backs up as Kapiolani Boulevard closes for APEC

    Kapiolani Boulevard is closed at Kalakaua Avenue this morning.
    Bus service on the number 9 route from Palolo to Pearl Harbor is detoured to a temporary bus stop on Makaloa Street while Kapiolani Boulevard is closed for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.
    A sign lets motorists know Atkinson Drive is closed.
    The intersection of Kapiolani Boulevard and Atkinson Drive is blocked to traffic. But the 7-11 and shops on the corner remain open.
    A police officer mans a barricade across from the Hawaii'i Convention Center.
    A police officer diverts traffic on Kapiolani Boulevard and Kaheka Street. Traffic was light on Kapiolani Boulevard in the Koko Head direction just before 8 a.m.

Photo Gallery: APEC preparations

Traffic jammed up in Hawaii Kai through Kaimuki because of road closures this morning, but traffic on Kapiolani Boulevard itself was surprisingly light during some of the morning commute.

Police closed Kapiolani Boulevard and Atkinson Drive around the Hawai’i Convention Center at 6 a.m. as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference began today.

Part of Kalakaua Avenue remained open, but two lanes closest to the convention center are closed until Friday.

Kapiolani Boulevard traffic was light before 7:30 a.m., except for the area immediately around Kalakaua Avenue, but later became more congested.

The McCully Street intersection in and out of Waikiki flowed smoothly at about 7:15 a.m.

Commuters experienced long delays on the H-1 Freeway and on Waialae Avenue as traffic backed up by 6:30 a.m. The roads will remain closed during the afternoon commute, when the traffic nightmare could happen again in reverse. Kapiolani Boulevard near the convention center is expected to remain closed until about 7 p.m.

Bus service is also affected as are some garbage services.

The city Department of Transportation Services is asking residents to avoid using Kapiolani Boulevard, even if it means using the H-1 Freeway, Beretania Street and Waialae Avenue, which may be more congested than usual. 

The city said many drivers started to use Kapiolani because of the more congested other streets, but it created a bottleneck at the intersection of Kapiolani and Kalakaua Avenue. 

Eariler in the morning, H-1 commuters from Hawaii Kai abandoned H-1 and clogged Waialae Avenue until it was bumper-to-bumper all the way through Kaimuki.

City Department of Transportation Services deputy director Kainani Kraut said the problems on the H-1 Freeway and Waialae Avenue are "what we anticipated." She said that Kapiolani Boulevard is a major route into town taken by commuters from the Hawaii Kai area who use it after getting off the freeway.

City Transportation Service Director Wayne Yoshioka, who monitored this morning’s traffic situation from the city traffic management center, said the situation got worse later in the morning when Hawaii Kai commuters became frustrated by the logjam on H-1 and decided to use the Kapiolani Boulevard off-ramp.

"That was a bad idea," added Yoshioka since drivers ended up in the gridlock caused by the closure of Kapiolani Boulevard by the convention center.

"There are lots of people traveling on the road," he added, "and there are less routes to take now."

City traffic officials tried to ease the congestion on Waialae Avenue and Beretania Street by controlling the traffic signals, optimizing the flow of cars.

"We ask for everyone’s patience," Yoshioka added, saying commuters should consider alternate means of getting into town or by adjusting their schedules to avoid the rush hour.

Other road closures and restrictions began on Sunday and Monday.

Parking lots and street parking around the convention center are blocked off and there is restricted access to sidewalks and parks in the area and in Waikiki.

Contra-flow coning during the morning and afternoon commute on Kapiolani Boulevard and adjacent streets is suspended through Thursday.

On Sunday, police closed the Magic Island parking lot and the Ewa half of Ala Moana Park to civilian vehicle traffic through Nov. 14. The park is still open for pedestrians. Parking areas at the Ala Wai Boat Harbor also closed.

Ala Wai Community Park, including the community center, parking lot, restrooms, canoe hale and areas up to the baseball field fence are closed to the public through Nov. 14. Also closed is the Ala Wai Golf Course Diamond Head Ballroom.

Kapiolani Regional Park parking lots and the Ewa end of the park have been closed since Oct. 31.

Access to Kahakai Drive and the neighborhood on the makai side of the Hawai’i Convention Center is restricted to residents through a private lane.

Police also blocked off sidewalks and crosswalks around the convention center.

 There is no parking on:

 ° Kaheka Drive, both sides, entire length.

 ° Kapiolani Boulevard, both sides, from Kaheka Street to Kalakaua Avenue.

 ° Kalauokalani Way, both sides, from Makaloa Street to Kapiolani.

 ° Atkinson Drive, south (Koko Head) side only, from Ala Moana to Kapiolani.

 ° Hobron Lane, north (Ewa) side only, from Kaioo Drive to Ala Moana.

 ° Hilton Hawaiian Lagoon parking lot.

 ° Koa Avenue. makai side, 100 feet west (Ewa) of Uluniu Avenue.

 ° Ohua Avenue, west (Ewa) side, makai of Kuhio Avenue.

 ° Beachwalk, both sides.

 Parking is from 6 a.m. through 7 p.m. today through Friday on: 

 ° Kaheka Street, south (Koko Head) side, from Kapiolani to South King. 

° Makaloa Street, both sides, from Kalakaua to Sheridan Street.

 ° McCully Street, both sides, from South King to Kalakaua.

State Department officials said there will be intermittent closures of other intersections around the Hawai’i Convention Center that may affect vehicle and pedestrian traffic temporarily.

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