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Parking fee increase opposed


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 02, 2009
                       
This story has been corrected.  See below.

A group of residents is organizing a protest against a bill to raise metered parking fees at the Honolulu Zoo lot and along Kalakaua Avenue next to Kapiolani Park by 500 percent.

City Council Bill 25 would raise the fees to $1.50 an hour from 25 cents an hour.

“;I think it's too drastic of a hike,”; said Linda Wong, a member of the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board. “;If they do it, it should be incremental.”;

The bill is scheduled for a final vote at a Council hearing at 10 a.m. June 10.

A protest rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday in front of the Dillingham Fountain near the Elks Club at 2933 Kalakaua Ave.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann's budget included the proposed fee increase, which would raise an estimated $800,000 yearly in additional revenues.

Hannemann's spokesman, Bill Brennan, said the administration is trying to bring the metered parking rates in line with other nearby areas in Kapahulu. Brennan said the rates have remained the same for about 30 years.

He said there are still free parking areas along parts of Kalakaua and at the Waikiki Shell.

Alethea Rebman, president of the Kapiolani Park Preservation Society, said the park land was donated by King Kalakaua to establish a free public park.

Rebman said the proposed parking rates are going to deter the use of the park by some people, including surfers.

“;It's not the intent of the park trust”; to discourage people from using the park, she said.

Diamond Head resident Frank Rogers said the city should be encouraging use of the facilities and encouraging people to exercise.

He said parking along the park should not be looked upon as a business venture.

Rogers said that residents, including retirees, use the park for a number of activities, including soccer, softball and tai chi. “;It should be a people's park,”; he said.

John Shockley, a Makakilo resident who was passing out fliers opposing the increase, said the rate hike was regressive and would affect those who can least afford it.

“;We're talking about Hawaii people being choked out of the beaches,”; he said.

Councilman Charles Djou said he feels the Hannemann administration should be looking at ways to trim its budget rather than increasing the fees.

Councilman Todd Apo said the Council would like to avoid the full increase and recognizes the importance of maintaining public access to the beaches.

“;It's a matter of finding the money,”; he said.

 

 

               

     

 

CORRECTION

       

Thursday, June 4, 2009

       

The protest rally against a proposed city ordinance to increase metered parking rates at the Waikiki Zoo and Kalakaua Avenue next to Kapiolani Park will be at 3 p.m. Saturday. This article originally said Monday.