State: Parking Prohibited Along Highway at Mauna Kea Access Road

September 1, 2019, 10:23 PM HST · Updated September 2, 9:32 PM
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The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation sent out a press release on Saturday expressing its disapproval of long term parking on the shoulders of Daniel K. Inouye Highway near the Mauna Kea Access Road. 

“Road shoulders are primarily designed to provide for emergency storage of disabled vehicles, not to accommodate long term parking,” The HDOT wrote. 

HDOT does not allow long-term parking along any high-speed roads. 

The department installed temporary traffic signals and barriers at the intersection of the access road and the highway after activists opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope erected a demonstration barricade near the intersection. 

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Just last month, the department installed 80 “No Parking” signs along the highway to “ensure the safety of the traveling public and deter unpermitted parking and unexpected roadway departures and entries.”

Legal analyst Ken Lawson referred to the installation as “unconstitutional” in an Instagram post. 

“A lawsuit seeking an injunction needs to be filed ASAP,” Lawson wrote. 

“This is an unconstitutional attempt by the state to use bogus traffic laws to trample on the 1st Amendment rights of protectors and others to peacefully assemble and exercise our rights to free speech,” the post read.  

Gov. Ige published a Question and Answer session regarding the contentious project on his website on Thursday.

In the post, Ige stated that he is left with “few options” if activists do not compromise. 

“After 10 years of legal review and thousands of pages of documents and testimony from all sides, it has been determined the project has the right to proceed, and as governor I’m obligated to enforce the law,” Ige said. 

Parking is available away from the highway, outside of HDOT jurisdiction. More information on the applicable statute is available here

The department warns that those interfering with its safety measures may be subject to criminal property charges. Click here for more information. 

This announcement comes as the anti-TMT movement at the base of Mauna Kea rounds out its sixth week.

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