DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Street parking and one lane were coned off yesterday on Ala Wai Boulevard between Lewers and Walina streets as crews worked on an emergency sewer bypass in the Ala Wai Canal. While the lane was reopened at 2:45 p.m. yesterday afternoon, the parking will remain blocked until next year, forcing nearby residents to search for alternatives.
Ala Wai work pinches parking
Emergency sewer repairs will displace spaces until next year
Finding street parking anywhere in Waikiki is always a challenge, and it just got harder since about 65 vehicles will not be able to park along a five-block stretch of Ala Wai Boulevard until next year.
"I don't know what I'm going to do now. ... Finding parking before the closure was hard enough," said Waikiki resident and employee Isao Mike, who has parked his Nissan Sentra along the Ala Wai for the past year and did not know about the closure.
City officials said they were forced to close street parking, the bike path and the pedestrian walkway along the Ala Wai between Lewers and Walina streets while crews construct the emergency sewer bypass to prevent a recurrence of the March 24 break that forced city officials to divert 48 million gallons of sewage into the Ala Wai Canal.
"They should've let us know before ... at least two or three weeks so I could've looked for other places to park," said Mike, who paid $15 for parking yesterday because he could not park along the canal.
"Anywhere you go, there's always going to be a waiting list," said Mike, who mentioned that he was going to start searching for alternative parking options as soon as he got off work.
But city officials said they gave the public more than adequate notice.
"Our original press release about the project in May announced the parking disruption," said Jim McCoy, a spokesman for the project who said he reminded the Waikiki Neighborhood Board of the closures at its monthly meeting June 13.
"We know it's an inconvenience, but we ask residents to have patience and understand that it is something that we don't want to do, but it must be done," said McCoy, who also notified several condominiums and apartment buildings along the affected stretch of road Friday and issued a news release Sunday about the parking disruptions.
City officials, who are required to give motorists notice only 24 hours in advance, also posted signs Monday morning warning motorists their vehicles would be towed if they did not move it by yesterday.
McCoy said everyone complied and no vehicles were towed.
"I saw the signs this morning, but it only said 'starting July 5.' It didn't post an end date, so I thought it was just for today," Mike said.
City officials hope to finish the $20 million Beachwalk Wastewater Emergency Bypass project by the end of the year.
Crews will connect an emergency 42-inch pipe to the existing wastewater system in Ala Moana Beach Park.
The construction on the pipe will temporarily close the bike path and reroute pedestrians to the makai side of the Ala Wai Boulevard.
It will also force temporary detours and closures at the Diamond Head entrance to Ala Moana Beach Park.
Once the bypass line is complete, the second phase of the emergency project can begin. This phase will include microtunneling two 1,200-foot-long permanent lines under Kaiolu Street.
Since Waikiki residents and businesses will not be able to use about 65 parking stalls along the Ala Wai Boulevard for the next six months, the Star-Bulletin staff has compiled a list of options for affected motorists.
» Street parking along non-affected areas of Ala Wai Boulevard: Parking is free; motorists may not park between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. Monday and Friday
» Metered parking on side streets: 25 cents per 10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; free otherwise
» Rented parking space from neighbors: Rates and restrictions vary; contact the building's resident manager for more information.
» Monthly parking from hotels or parking centers: Rates and restrictions vary; contact hotel or parking center for more information.
» Information regarding the project is available at www.beachwalkbypass.com and by calling 203-5777.
Star-Bulletin reporter Alyssa Navares contributed to this report.