Study: UH traffic and parking improvement will be costly
Consultants for the University of Hawaii at Manoa are recommending improvements for parking and traffic problems on and around the campus.
But the improvements will cost millions of dollars in the form of a parking fee increase for UH-Manoa and for road and intersection improvements.
Consultant Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates Inc. said UH-Manoa enrollment is expected to remain stable over the next decade, so traffic will not get much worse. But there will be no major improvement unless millions of dollars are invested in extending mass transit to the UH-Manoa campus or more lanes are added to H-1 freeway onramps and University Avenue and Beretania and King streets.
Plans call for the city's rail transit system to extend only to Ala Moana Center, and the consultant recommends against widening the onramps, Beretania and King streets, and the lower portion of University Avenue because of the cost of acquiring land.
Another consultant suggested that UH-Manoa needs an additional 1,623 spaces to meet demand for parking on campus.
The Board of Regents is being asked to approve a 70 percent increase in parking fees over the next five years to pay for the cost of designing and building a new $30 million, 900-space parking structure on the lower campus.
The price increase must still go out for public hearings before it can be adopted.
UH-Manoa is also planning a $61 million, 480-space parking structure/classroom building on the site of the current visitor parking lot behind Kennedy Theatre.
Consultant Parking Planners also recommended that the university build another parking structure next to the Agricultural Science building on the upper campus.
However, construction on the new parking structures is not expected to start for at least five years.
Manoa Neighborhood Board Chairman Paul Holtrop said more parking on campus might alleviate some of the traffic problems above campus.
But he said, speaking for himself, that mass transit is the best solution.
Austin, Tsutsumi & Associates said UH-Manoa is not the only cause of traffic in Manoa Valley, noting that students from the UH Lab School, Mid-Pacific Academy and St. Francis School also search for street parking.
The consultant said some steps can be taken to reduce traffic at certain intersections along University Avenue.
They proposed banning left turns during peak traffic hours around the Varsity Circle area and along South King Street near University Avenue and coordinating traffic signals.
They also recommended adding left- and right-turn lanes to Dole Street between University Avenue and Lower Campus Road. The improvements might mean moving the historic gateway structures at the corner of University Avenue and Dole Street.
Another recommendation is to add three lanes to University Avenue near Dole Street, including a lane that could directly connect the H-1 freeway westbound offramp to Dole Street and a right-turn lane through the Music Building parking lot that would allow cars to go from University Avenue to Lower Campus Road.
Proposed parking fee increase
Under a proposal before the Board of Regents, parking fees at UH-Manoa would go up 15 percent next year and 10 percent in each of the next four years.
Source: Kathy Cutshaw, vice chancellor for administration at UH-Manoa
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