Paying to park eases Manoa congestion
I went to Lyon Arboretum in Manoa recently and headed to a parking lot just before the arboretum. I noticed a sign and couple of guys collecting $5 to park there. I'm surprised they're charging for parking. Who owns the lot?
Answer: That lot is owned by Paradise Park, which currently leases land in the back of Manoa Valley to a restaurant and public charter school.
Anyone who pays the fee is allowed to park in the lot if there is space, said Warren Wong, of Paradise Park.
A representative of Treetops at Paradise Park Restaurant and an official with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources both said they believe the area is safer now that parking is being monitored.
Wong said the lot has always been pay-to-park since Paradise Park closed years ago, but not many people chose to park there because the state allowed people heading to Manoa Falls Trail to park nearby for free.
But after that parking area was closed, "everybody started parking in the restaurant lot and everywhere. ... It got a little hectic for a while," Wong said.
Hikers had been allowed to park along an area, owned by the city Board of Water Supply, heading to Manoa Falls.
However, the DLNR gated that area because of safety issues, said Curt Cottrell, manager of the department's Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program.
Because of falling trees, "We came to the conclusion that it was just unsafe to have people park at the old gravel, unimproved parking area," Cottrell said.
He also noted problems with theft and vandalism.
There was some talk of leasing private land to provide parking for hikers, but in the end it was decided that people could park on the paved city street leading to Paradise Park, which is "a very short walk" to Manoa Falls, Cottrell said.
They also have the option of parking in the paid lot and being assured that their vehicles would be more secure, he said.
Meanwhile, parking at the University of Hawaii's Lyon Arboretum, closer to the facility itself, is free.
Visitors must sign in and "may leave donations if they wish, but we don't charge for parking," a representative of the arboretum said.
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