STAR-BULLETIN / MAY 2006
The City Council is considering a 100 percent increase in parking fees at the busy municipal parking lot in Kaimuki to $1.50 an hour after two hours. The city would then have the green light to change the metered lots to attendant parking.
Council weighs Kaimuki parking
One plan suggests a switch from metered to attendant parking in the business district
Drivers can air their questions and objections next week over a proposal to change from metered to attendant parking in the Kaimuki business district.
The City Council also is considering a 100 percent increase in parking fees for the busy lots to $1.50 an hour after two hours. The city would then have the green light to change the metered lots to attendant parking.
At the City Council's Budget Committee hearing last week, Council members raised questions about net revenue, impact on the community and whether the public was adequately notified of the change. A public hearing was scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 15 as a result.
"The two questions I raised were how has the community been involved in coming up with this planned situation, and is this proposal really gonna solve the problem?" said Councilman Todd Apo. "The problem is people just stay in their spaces."
Attendant parking and increased rates are intended to scare away employees of nearby businesses who park there during their workday, aggravating the parking crunch for patrons coming in for lunch and dinner.
A city consultant in 2004 found that half the lot was being used for long-term parking. Apo said attendant parking would only encourage people to stay longer.
"One comment was that people don't feed the meters and stay longer," Apo said. "Well, that's an enforcement issue we need to deal with."
How to deal with the parking situation in the crowded business district has been the topic of debate for years, with many businesses disagreeing with the best possible solution.
Some wanted a parking garage, but others feared the short-term impact the construction would have on business. The parking structure would have created 300 to 400 spaces more than the current 270 stalls.
Mike Abe, Kaimuki Neighborhood Board chairman, called the lots a community asset, and that more community input is needed before the City Council raises rates and approves the change to attendant parking.
State Rep. Barbara Marumoto wrote testimony in favor of attendant parking.
"Those in opposition to this bill and to attendant parking are all day workers who work in the area," Marumoto said. "It is important to try attendant parking for several months in order to assess how effective it is in increasing space availability."
City officials have said if the plan fails to solve the problem, then it would consider building a parking structure, which was initially estimated to cost about $7.5 million.
City Councilman Charles Djou, who oversees a portion of Kaimuki, acknowledged that attendant parking isn't the perfect solution.
"Unfortunately building a parking structure isn't free," Djou said. "I do think attendant parking is something we should try first."