Proposal to raise park's parking fee draws protest


POSTED: Sunday, June 07, 2009

The prospect of parking rates jumping from 25 cents an hour to up to $1.50 an hour brought dozens of protesters to the Dillingham Fountain at Kapiolani Park yesterday.

;[Preview]    Patrons Protest Waikiki Parking Hikes

Protesters decry parking-fee hikes at the Honolulu Zoo, one of the few cheap places to park in Waikiki.

Watch ]






        The Honolulu City Council will hold a public hearing Wednesday on Bill 25 and other budget and fee increase proposals. The measure is up for a final vote.

The meeting starts at 10 a.m. at Honolulu Hale. Speakers must sign up in advance. Testimony can also be submitted online at www.honolulu.gov/council/emailccl.htm or by fax at 768-3826.


The City Council is on the verge of passing Bill 25, which would raise metered parking rates around the park to 75 cents and $1.50 an hour in an effort to make up for a $50 million shortfall in the city budget.

“;Bill 25 is a real slap to the people's access to Waikiki's recreational areas,”; said Makakilo resident John Shockley. “;Imagine a family trying to spend a day at Kapiolani Park, the Zoo, the Aquarium, and the beach paying what the mayor says is the equivalent of the price of a plate lunch to the City to park.”;

But Budget Committee Chairman Nestor Garcia said some of the money raised would help pay for improvements at the park and the zoo.

Garcia said residents in other parts of the city should not subsidize parking in Waikiki.

“;This is not for people who live in the area or people who work in the area,”; Garcia said. “;Taxpayer moneys are not going to pay for cheap parking for those two constituencies.”;

“;The ones who are complaining are basically the ones that park there all day long,”; said Councilman Rod Tam.

Opponents on the council include Duke Bainum, who represents the area around the park.

“;I think that places like this, Magic Island, and other special recreation areas do deserve special consideration,”; Bainum said. “;You don't want to be coming here for a first birthday party, and bringing a roll of quarters and go back and forth to the parking meter. I don't think that captures Hawaii's spirit.”;

Kapiolani Park Advisory Council President Michelle Matson said the trust that established the park specifically states it should be a free park and recreation area.

“;It was meant to be a public park, not a park that the city exploits for money that they need to use elsewhere,”; she said.

Council Chairman Todd Apo said the parking rate increase is among six to eight bills that increase fees that will be voted on Wednesday, but it is generating the most attention, even more than the property tax rate, motor vehicle tax and golf fees.

Protesters said two councilmembers—Ikaika Anderson and Romy Cachola—appear to be the swing votes on Bill 25.