Kaimuki panel backs attendant parking lot
The Kaimuki Neighborhood Board voted unanimously last night to ask the city to look at short-term solutions to parking problems in the business district before building a $7.5 million three-story parking structure.
After more than two hours of discussion, the board approved a resolution to try an attendant parking lot. A resolution in favor of the parking structure failed.
"If we try the short-term solution now and it works great, we might not have to go to the long-term solution," said John Kobayashi, a Kaimuki real estate developer. "Let's get this thing done, man. We've been talking about this for four or five years now."
More than 30 people gathered at Liliuokalani Elementary School's cafeteria yesterday to consider the proposal to build a 300- to 400-stall parking structure on an existing lot off Waialae Avenue.
The parking structure, whose construction could start as early as 2008, would include a community meeting room and a police meeting room on the ground floor. Currently, the large city lot makai of Waialae Avenue between 11th and 12th avenues has 270 stalls that serve 115 Kaimuki businesses. Its meters generate about $900,000 annually.
Several business owners and residents said yesterday that they want the city to go ahead with a project to re-stripe Kaimuki's two municipal lots and add attendants and gates in hopes of deterring day-long, employee parking.
A parking vendor would pay for the improvements in exchange for managing the lot. The city has already allocated $250,000 to make the lot accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But that plan was put on hold earlier this year after residents voiced concerns over how an attendant lot would affect traffic.
"I'd rather see the $250,000 go to the original proposal," said board member Daniel Nahoopii. "I think we need a short-term solution."
Mike Abe, the board's chairman, had wanted the city funds to instead be used to conduct a planning and design study for the proposed structure.
The funds must be spent before the end of the year, or they will be lost.
"They (City Council members) are waiting for Kaimuki to come together for some kind of solution," Abe told attendees last night. "The greatest concern that we've had about building a parking structure is the downtime -- the impact on businesses."
Ernie Bedard, a Kaimuki resident, said he supported the construction of a structure.
"Do you want Kaimuki to expand or not?" he asked board members. "If we have a chance to use the money, I say we look at the long term."
But others said less expensive changes should be instituted before a structure is built.
"Can we really justify an expensive parking structure for business hours only?" asked board member Randolph Hack. "Are the business people willing to suffer the pain of lost business? I also ask people to think about the beauty of our community."