Ala Moana Center construction creating 'horrendous' traffic

Mall plans to open available parking for holiday season

 UPDATED 7:22 PM HST Aug 23, 2013
HONOLULU -

Traffic in and around Ala Moana Center has been like a maze lately, with several areas shut down because of construction.

Demolition of the old Sears parking deck is the beginning of a two-year project at the mall.

"Everything from where Sears met the mall all the way to Piikoi will be taken down in a way so as to be able to start to create the new expansion area going up," said Ala Moana Senior Marketing Manager Scott Creel.

The new Ewa Wing will add 650,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment options, including Bloomingdale's.

But because of the work, the street-level entrance from Piikoi is shut down. The Piikoi ramp remains open, but you're forced to turn left into the Mauka Ewa Parking Structure, where many stalls are off limits because of another expansion.

"We'll be adding four to five levels on top of the existing parking structure that is on the mauka, Ewa end of the property and it will add another thousand spaces," said Creel.

Many said those thousand spaces could be used now.

"The traffic on this end is just horrendous," said Ala Moana customer Leon Bickford. "It's terrible and parking is... I don't even park on this of the mall anymore."

Another mall customer, Brian Smith, said, "The construction going on makes it terrible. You can't go up the ramp and go around to (the) Neiman Marcus side at all. You have to drive all the way (to) Ala Moana and go up the ramp the other side."

And the situation will only get worse with the holiday season approaching.

"Our plan, is we're going to slow down wherever it's logical and possible in order to open up some available parking to accommodate the customer," said Creel.

This year will be the first of two holiday seasons because the multimillion-dollar expansion project is not expected to be complete until late 2015.

A project to redevelop the mall's Center Court area will be complete in November.

A third project, the ONE Ala Moana condominium atop Nordstrom, should be done late next year.

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