Honolulu: Prepare for Trump Traffic Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
Just when you thought it was safe to go to Waikīkī.
Photo: D. Myles Cullen / Courtesy of The White House
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump’s plan to stay in Waikīkī during a Honolulu stopover on the way to Asia this Friday and Saturday—Nov. 3 and 4—is expected to create major traffic challenges, according to city officials.
Presidential visits routinely wreak havoc on Honolulu traffic as security procedures call for the shutdown of roads and freeways along the path of the motorcade. The Trumps’ travel time potentially puts them in and around Friday afternoon rush hour along a major traffic corridor and into Waikīkī on a busy weekend that includes the international attraction of the seventh annual Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell recommends avoiding the eastbound H-1 Freeway and the Waikīkī area Friday afternoon if possible. Because the traffic will affect the urban core where so many people work, the city issued a memo to its 10,000 employees to warn them of the anticipated traffic and to authorize Friday as a vacation day. Employees are not required to take the day off, but are encouraged to stay off the road if their schedules permit.
Honolulu police warn drivers to anticipate traffic snarls from Friday afternoon, with the most impact expected Friday:
2–3 p.m. eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikīkī
4–5 p.m. westbound closures from Waikīkī to Pearl Harbor
7–8 p.m. eastbound closures from Pearl Harbor to Waikīkī
Image: Courtesy of DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, City & County of Honolulu
Assistant police chief Clyde Ho asks everyone on the road to exercise patience, and warned that once the road closings start they may last anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
For updates, the city recommends checking the hnl.info app.
The president is making his first official visit to Asia with stops in Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. During his stops in Vietnam and the Philippines, he is going to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative, as well as the U.S.-ASEAN Summit.
Barriers will start to go up in certain parts of Waikīkī tonight—Nov. 2—in anticipation of the traffic tie-ups and to notify the public of the coming challenges.
Officials routinely decline to provide specific details for security reasons. Caldwell said the Joint Traffic Management Center will be fully staffed to adjust traffic signals to help alleviate congestion in side streets and other affected areas.
Bus and Handi-Van service will continue along these routes, but may be delayed.
Caldwell and Honolulu police are anticipating protests. Hawai‘i J20+ is planning protests from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the State Capitol, and Saturday, with a gathering at 9:30 a.m. at Ala Moana Beach Park, a march at 10 a.m. to Thomas Square with a rally slated for 1 p.m. The police department is monitoring other developing protests and currently expects about 100 protestors, though this number may increase by the time of the Trumps’ arrival.
Officials say they hope that warning drivers about the potential snarls will help people to avoid the routes when possible, expect delays and remember to drive with aloha.