Riders protest plans to move Ko Olina bus stops

Plans to move two bus stops in Ko Olina due to safety concerns do not sit well with riders who frequent the area.

Farrington Highway, just outside Ko Olina Resort, has been the scene of many accidents. Just before Halloween this year, a driver was killed when his pickup truck plowed into the back of a city bus.

The scene is an area where two bus stops sit: #501 on the route bound for the Waianae coast and, across the highway, #659 services those who want to catch the city bus heading east.

Daniel Acosta is a retired firefighter who moved to Hawaii four and a half years ago. He lives in a home near bus stop #501 and has had to call upon his training to rescue people involved in traffic incidents there.

“A week doesn’t go by without something happening here at this bus stop,” said Acosta. “We have had vehicle carnage and we have had human carnage.”

Acosta pointed to a bent guard rail, just another reminder of what has happened here.

Concerns over safety have compelled both the state Department of Transportation and the city’s Department of Transportation Services to move the two bus stops.

ko olina map bus stops

The options would move them further away from Ko Olina Resort, to Kahe Point Beach Park further down the coast and Waiomea Street to the east.

That decision would become effective next spring, but only after there is more community discussion.

Still, it does not sit well with many who take the bus to work at Paradise Cove, a popular visitor attraction for sunset luaus at Ko Olina.

“They were shocked in the beginning. They were up in arms,” said Norman Kaneshige, vice president of Paradise Cove, when his employees learned of the decision.

So far, 120 employees have signed a petition at Paradise Cove to keep the bus stops where they are.

But they have also offered solutions, including a pedestrian overpass at the bridge, a crosswalk with flashing lights to warn drivers to look out for pedestrians crossing Farrington Highway, proposals to move the bus stops closer to the bridge, and a shuttle service to Ko Olina.

A woman who gets off at bus stop #501 to go to the beach also has a solution.

“Why don’t they have a bus stop right on Ko Olina?” said Linda Vete. “They could swing through Ko Olina. I assume plenty of us use it.”

City officials are considering that solution as well, but they are not sure yet who would provide that service.

“I’m hoping that Ko Olina resorts will step up and start a shuttle service for visitors and their employees,” said Honolulu City Council member Kymberly Pine, who represents the Waianae Coast.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is hoping the resort will offer that service as well, but is also eying another solution.

“They (Ko Olina) may not be open to that,” he said, “so the city is also talking about using some circulator routes in the Waianae, Makakilo, Kapolei areas. Perhaps they can do a little run (to Ko Olina) from the under-utilized routes.”

Article by KHON2 News
By Nestor Garcia

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