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Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Electric cars get
permanent parking pass


Good news for electric vehicle owners: Your free parking privilege did not end in 2002.

In the March 18, 2004, "Kokua Line" column, a reader asked if electric vehicles are allowed to park for free at metered stalls in parking lots and on the streets.

The answer from the state Department of Transportation was "no," that incentive to encourage use of electric vehicles expired on June 30, 2002.

Officials told us that the state Legislature, in 1997, passed Act 290, which provided electric vehicles with such incentives as special license plates, free metered parking, free vehicle registration and, for those allowed on freeways, use of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

But, they said, the free parking, free vehicle registration and free license plates were to end after five years.

However, Sgt. Clyde Yamashiro, of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division, subsequently pointed to a different interpretation of the law. He said parking enforcement officers have not been ticketing electric vehicles parked at expired meters, based on that interpretation.

Yamashiro said the free-parking incentive was noted in a different section of the law (Section 4 of Act 290) from the other "perks" (Section 5, Act 290) and was not subject to the five-year limit.

We passed this information on to the Transportation Department.

After talking with Yamashiro, the department decided it will go along with HPD's interpretation of the law, said transportation spokesman Scott Ishikawa.

HPD said it talked with the city prosecutor's office and the state Legislative Reference Bureau, which had similar interpretations, "which swayed us to go along," he said.

In the meantime, "The state admits that some of the language in the law may be a little vague, so we may have to draft a bill for next year's session to better codify the exemptions," Ishikawa said. "The other section involving registration requirements have expired."

Auwe

Since a lot of our state's finances come from tourism, I would think that we would want to make our tourists as comfortable as possible. Why, then, are our street signs so badly positioned or missing from most of Oahu and a large portion of Waikiki? As I have driven around the island at times looking for an address, you literally have to guess at the right street. At other times there is no warning about an upcoming street, or the street sign is obscured or difficult to see until it is almost too late to turn. I wonder how many accidents have been caused by drivers being forced to work too hard to see a street sign. -- C.A.

Mahalo

To the lifeguards, Emergency Medical Service personnel and the police and fire departments for their prompt response when one our lady bowlers had difficulty breathing Monday, April 5. The lifeguards were the first to respond because their office was directly behind our wall at Ala Moana Park. The names of all who assisted are too numerous to mention, but our members wish to convey our sincere appreciation for their kind, professional and warm personal demeanor. -- Dominick Petillo, president, Honolulu Lawn Bowling Club


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See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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