Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A proposed plan would reserve parking at the Honolulu Zoo parking lot to those visiting the zoo. Beachgoers have long found the lot to be convenient to Waikiki Beach.

Limits sought on
parking at the zoo

A preservation society will
challenge any efforts to add spaces

A group of Kapiolani Park advocates wants the city to restrict access to the Honolulu Zoo parking lot and to relocate the archery range to Central Oahu.

The Kapiolani Park Preservation Society says too many non-park users -- hotel workers and Waikiki residents -- park at the zoo lot on Kapahulu Avenue. It suggests a full-time attendant at the lot and that anyone who pays admission to the zoo should have free parking. Other park users could still use the lot at a four-hour limit.

The society is also recommending that the city relocate the archery range on Paki Avenue next to the Diamond Head tennis center.

City Council members, who also act as trustees of the Kapiolani Park Trust, meet today to hear details from landscape architect Michael Miyabara, the consultant hired to update the park's master plan, which has not been revised since 1983.

Miyabara said yesterday that the details of the master plan have not been formalized and are merely proposals at this point. He did not provide details.

Miyabara briefed the society, however, on details of the master plan on May 26.

"As a master plan, it should be visionary," society board Director Alethea Rebman said. "It's a nice plan for maintaining the park ... but it doesn't have vision for Kapiolani Park in the future."

The society favors plans to place unsightly utility lines underground and expand the width of the sidewalk along the mauka edge of Kalakaua Avenue.

But parking will probably be the most controversial issue in the master plan. "We know parking is an issue. That's where a visionary element could come in," Rebman said.

The Kapiolani Park Preservation Society said it will challenge any attempt by the city to increase the number of parking spaces from the court-ordered cap of 1,352 spaces in the park, which falls under a trust that governs park use.

"The society will call for strict accounting of parking spaces and will not hesitate to bring court action against any further encroachment into park trust land for vehicle parking," society board President Jack Gillmar wrote in a June 10 letter to Mayor Jeremy Harris and the City Council.

If the city wants to add more parking, one of the options could be restricting parking at the zoo lot to just zoo and park users to free up more spaces there and not expand parking in other parts of the park, the society said.

That recommendation drew mixed reactions from those who used the zoo parking lot yesterday.

"Waikiki is tough for parking already," said Mana Crozier, 34, a Hawaii native who now lives in Colorado.

Crozier, who visited the zoo yesterday with his kids, said he sees where zoo patrons would want more parking, but he has also used that lot when he goes surfing. "I think it should stay the way it is."

Art and Dee Marumoto, who were packing their kids into the car after a zoo visit, said that when there are big events in Waikiki, like Sunset on the Beach, parking at the zoo becomes scarce. They like the idea of restricting parking. "It's a good idea."

But university students Ed Arasato, Mark Gonzales and Paul DeWitt, who were headed to the beach, said public parking should be open to anyone who needs it in Waikiki. "It's more convenient," Arasato said.

About the archery range, the society says stray arrows have reached the nearby tennis courts. "Archery use isn't exactly safe for surrounding park users," Rebman said.

She said the city should follow through with plans to move the range to Central Oahu Regional Park.

Archery enthusiasts said they will oppose any plans to remove the range.

George Tanabe, of Kaneohe, who has been using the range since 1969, said that the public range is a great location for those who live in urban Honolulu.

"For me to go out to Central Oahu, forget it," he said, adding that those who use the range are safety conscious, and he has not heard of anyone getting hurt.


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