Officials from the UH, HPDBy Pat Omandam
and Aloha Stadium meet to
discuss parking for future
Lance "Kawika" Collins was among the thousands of motorists stuck in the major traffic jam that encircled Aloha Stadium before last Saturday's University of Hawaii football game.
While many motorists tolerated the long wait in their cars for a chance to watch the game live, the UH graduate student was irritated by the gridlock at the gridiron because it tripled his travel time from Manoa to Halawa Heights.
To make matters worse, he doesn't even like football. "There is absolutely no reason why we have to suffer at the expense of a football team that represents American colonialism, heterosexism and the subjugation of women," he said yesterday.
8,000 stalls for 50,000 fans"On top of it, there's millions of dollars being spent to say, 'Go Bows!' But at the same time they're not even winning. It's like we're flushing money down the toilet and having to sit in traffic jams for it. You can't win," Collins said.
Representatives from the UH athletic department, the Honolulu Police Department and Aloha Stadium Authority met yesterday to discuss ways to handle parking at the stadium for future UH games.
"Anything that will reduce the number of cars coming through the main gate is what we're after," said Les Keiter, special assistant to the Stadium Authority.
Keiter said the major problem is that there are only 8,000 parking stalls for the 50,000-seat stadium. As a result, people know the early bird gets the good parking space. There were at least 12,000 cars waiting for parking stalls Saturday, so roughly 4,000 vehicles did not get into the stadium lot, he said.
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Keiter said the group came up with four key changes it hopes will avoid the traffic problems of last weekend:
Encourage car pools: The stadium main parking lot will still open at 3:30 p.m., but the lower Halawa gate lot -- where the carnivals are held -- will now be open at 1 p.m. for high-occupancy vehicles with four or more occupants. The gate is across from Stadium Mall near Salt Lake Boulevard.
Keiter said the lower parking area can hold 2,500 cars. With four people per car, the lot will accommodate at least 10,000 fans.
Fans can also use the UH Football Express bus service offered by TheBus for a fee of $2 each way. Call 848-5555 for routes and times.
New rules effective SaturdayMore police: Honolulu police have agreed to have more officers on hand to direct traffic than there have ever been for a game.
Alternative parking: The Stadium Authority will work with the military, public schools, community college and owners of other nearby sites to see if an agreement can be reached to use their properties for alternate parking. There are many suggestions but no agreements yet, Keiter said.
New tailgate policy: All stadium parking stalls will now be on a first-come, first-served basis. Reserving or saving stalls is prohibited. All cars, tables, chairs, barbecue pits and tents must be confined to one stall. People can pitch a tent between adjacent cars, but there can't be any empty stalls between them.
Also, all flying objects of any kind -- footballs, baseballs, Frisbees, etc. -- will not be allowed. Bicycles, skateboards and roller-blades are also prohibited.
"The parking lot is not a playground," Keiter said.
These rules are effective starting Saturday. Keiter warned there will be additional changes for games this season that draw near-capacity crowds. But that won't happen unless the UH Rainbows -- who hold the nation's longest college football losing streak at 19 games -- start to win games.
Loss 'added to the letdown'Ben Freedman, a UH senior majoring in journalism, said Saturday's lopsided loss only added to the frustration of the parking. "You have all these people baking in their cars, and they're thinking, 'The Bows better put on a good show now because we're going through all this trouble to watch them play' -- and they don't even score a point on offense," he said.
"I thought it added to the letdown," said Freedman, who arrived at 2 p.m. and parked in the residential area near Radford High School.
Meanwhile, among those caught in the traffic jam were Mayor Jeremy Harris and Gov. Ben Cayetano, who told reporters this week the flea market may have to close earlier to help alleviate the problem.
"It may be that the next time they expect a big crowd, the flea market should be closed a few hours earlier," Cayetano suggested.