Sunday anti-TMT convoy could cause Oahu traffic delays
Several hundred vehicles are expected to participate in a Hawaii Kai-to-Maili convoy Sunday morning to raise awareness about the opposition of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
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Several hundred vehicles are expected to participate in a Hawaii Kai-to-Maili convoy Sunday morning to raise awareness about the opposition to construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea.
An event organizer said the goal is to spread information peacefully and without disrupting traffic. Nonetheless, state and city officials are warning Oahu motorists to anticipate traffic delays.
A permit issued jointly Friday by the state Department of Transportation and city Department of Transportation Services said the procession is expected to run from 9 a.m. to noon with about 70 participants.
But Jamie Rodrigues, the event’s lead organizer, said she’s hoping 300 to 400 vehicles participate in an expression of views as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
The “Mauna Convoy” is expected to begin from Maunalua Bay Beach Park at
9 a.m., make its way down Kalanianaole Highway, then continue westbound onto the H-1 freeway. It will continue along the length of H-1 and move onto Farrington Highway in Honokai Hale until the end of the freeway at Honokai Hale and move onto Farrington Highway westbound into Maili where a potluck is planned at Maili Beach Park. A poster for the potluck says, “No alcohol or drugs allowed.”
Participants are expected to gather at Maunalua Bay
at 7:30 a.m. with the staging of vehicles set to start at
8:15 a.m., the application said.
The beginning and end points were selected because large numbers of Native Hawaiians live in both districts, Rodrigues said. “The reason why the route is so long is because we want to bring awareness to the towns we’re driving through.”
The application lists Supporters of Ku Kia‘i Mauna as the applicant, but Rodrigues said it’s a name she came up with on a whim.
In the early days of the protest during the summer, some TMT opponents driving on the freeway appeared to purposely slow their vehicles — and the traffic behind them. But Rodrigues said that’s definitely not the intent with Sunday’s event.
“The intent is to put out a tasteful and peaceful demonstration of our solidarity and opposition to the building of TMT and the desecration of Mauna Kea,” she said, noting that the convoy was planned more than a month ago. “We want to be able to peacefully demonstrate without disrupting our community or being disrespectful to our community in any way.”
Under a condition required by the permit, “all participants are required to remain in one lane only and must follow all traffic rules and regulations unless otherwise directed by HPD.”
Vehicles might feature loudspeakers, the application said.
The applicant’s request to move onto Farrington Highway in Waipahu and then head back onto H-1 in Kapolei was rejected by DOT.
The group has not hired any special-duty police officers, Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said.
“HPD officers will be moving with the vehicles along the route to ensure the safety of the participants and the general public,” Yu said. “Additional officers will be positioned at the beginning and end of the event. Heavy traffic is expected along the entire route, including freeway onramps and nearby streets.”
HPD is urging motorists to exercise caution and patience, she said.