For months, Hawaii residents have been advised that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit would have a huge impact, and not only call attention to Hawaii as a gathering place for world leaders, but cause huge traffic jams. During the week November 7-13, 2011 Honolulu played host to President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono — lots of bigwigs and traffic headaches for people on Oahu.
The meetings were held at the Hawaii Convention Center and Ko Olina Resort, and every time a world leader needed to get to one of these places, the H-1 Freeway and all surrounding streets were shut down. I got caught on Thursday leaving Iolani School after chapel trying to get to LCH. It took me 55 minutes to travel a distance that normally takes me about 7-10 minutes.
But today, Sunday morning, was the worst, and it took me one hour to get from my downtown apartment to the church! Normally it takes me about 10 minutes or less! KITV-TV posted a story about it — “Thousands Sit in Traffic Gridlock on H-! Freeway.” You can also read the Star Advertiser story about the whole mess here. I didn’t even make it to the freeway, though — I was stuck on Vineyard Blvd. and thought I’d try to make it the back way by going up Queen Emma Street to School Street. Bad move — the police completely blocked the road. I finally turned off my car engine in front of the Pacific Club where I sat for at least 45 minutes.
I texted Miguel Felipe and Pastor Jeff Lilley that I was stuck and had no idea when the roads would be open. I was envisioning being stuck for a couple hours and Miguel having to play the piano for the service! The roads finally opened up at 9:45, and needless to say, I was extremely late to the pre-service rehearsal, but I wasn’t the only one. Allen Bauchle, Jerome Vasconcellos, Keane Ishii and Paul Schwind also got caught in the traffic gridlock before the roads finally re-opened.
I’m surprised we had as many people in church that we did this morning!