Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, October 14, 2004

State will study parking
crunch at DOH offices

Question: I went to the state Health Department recently to get a copy of my birth certificate. I went after the lunchtime crowd, but at 2 p.m., I couldn't find any metered stalls open. That meant I couldn't get to the counter before it closed at 2:30 p.m., which wasted my taking time off from work. What really upset me was the number of cars with parking passes. I went back the next morning, and again the lot was full, with a lot of parking passes from Russell Saito on the cars. Why don't they instruct these state employees to park in lots other than the ones the public uses for necessary items? The Legislature is out, so why can't they use the state Capitol parking instead?

Answer: The Capitol parking garage is utilized during the off-season, said Russ Saito, head of the Department of Accounting and General Services.

The basic problem is the lack of parking spaces for both visiting state employees and the public, although there are nearby parking options to the small front lot at Kinau Hale (the Health Department building).

DAGS is reviewing its employee parking pass policies to address at least part of the problem.

"The whole intent is to make sure the public is accommodated," Saito said. "If we were a business, we would never deny a customer parking. ... We want to take the same approach."

Health Department employees based at Kinau Hale are not allowed to use the yellow passes issued by DAGS for parking in the front lot, spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. "All state employees can get ticketed and fined if we don't follow the rules."

The Health Department can purchase temporary parking passes from DAGS, which allows hourly parking in selected lots and which determines what lots can be used.

"We sometimes issue these (passes) for visitors attending meetings involving federal, county and/or private agencies held at (Kinau Hale), but because our programs must pay for the passes, they are issued very judiciously," Okubo said.

Saito said part of the review of the employee parking pass program will include possibly charging state agencies for any pass. Some passes now are free, he said, which could result in them being used "less diligently."

Another problem, he said, is that "a lot of people, especially visitors not familiar with downtown, don't know there are other lots fairly close by," such as 70 metered stalls in the lot at Vineyard Boulevard and Punchbowl Street, next to the Department of Education building, as well as in the basement of the state Kalanimoku Building.

Saito said posting signs at Kinau Hale directing people to those lots is being considered.

Meanwhile, Okubo said you don't have to show up in person to obtain a birth certificate of some other vital record. You can get them by mail or online, although it costs extra to get copies via the Internet.

Information is available at www.hawaii.gov/health/vital-records/vital-records/vital_records.html, or requests can be submitted at www.ehawaiigov.org/ohsm.

You can also call 586-4539 or 586-4542 for more information.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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