Lagoon Drive parking to see fireworks a dud


POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2009

Question: We went to see the Fourth of July fireworks and parked on Lagoon Drive. There were no “;no parking”; signs. We were near the end of the road, but not near the flight path, where they do have “;no-parking”; signs. There were a lot of other cars parked around us because it was a good place to watch the fireworks at Ala Moana and Hickam. But then about 8:30 or 9 p.m., several sheriffs came and told us to get out. They didn't give us a reason. I didn't see any harm in parking there. We weren't drinking or being rowdy. Why aren't we allowed there?

Answer: The public was allowed into the Honolulu Airport area via Lagoon Drive to watch the fireworks this year, the first time since heightened security measures were instituted following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

This was done on a trial basis, said Tammy Mori, spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

However, because of the problems reported by the state Sheriffs Division—100 vehicles illegally parked along Lagoon Drive, including in the aircraft approach zone for Runway 26R, use of fireworks by spectators, and multiple open-flame grills—there won't be a second time.

There are no plans to open Lagoon Drive to the public for viewing fireworks displays during New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July next year, Mori said.

On this past Fourth of July, fireworks viewers were supposed to be in two designated lots: one on Palekona Street off Lagoon Drive and a lot at the end of the drive at the “;T hangars.”; Neither filled up that night, Mori said.

Although the best view for all fireworks shows that night was said to be at the north side of Lagoon Drive, she said most of the vehicles were parked in the approach zone instead.

Mori pointed out that all of Lagoon Drive is marked “;no parking”; on both the mauka and makai sides from the Aolele Street/Lagoon Drive intersection to approximately 300 feet south of Palekona Street.

Those restrictions are in effect throughout the year for safety reasons because the area is in the approach zone of active runways.

“;Public safety is our highest priority and keeping the area clear for the approaching and departing aircraft is paramount,”; Mori said.

Sheriff's deputies, who enforce airport regulations, were directed to patrol Lagoon Drive that night “;to ensure that no impaired drivers, alcohol, fireworks or other unauthorized activities were being conducted on airport property, as well as ensure that drivers were in the designated parking areas,”; Mori said.

They were directed to have all vehicles illegally parked along Lagoon Drive removed, she said.

Question: My wife and I would like to contribute to meals for the homeless. We see them every day in the parks and I don't like to give cash for obvious reasons. We thought about coupons from the fast-food places, but see the same problem. Where can one donate money for these meals?

Answer: There are many nonprofit organizations and churches that provide meals to the needy, including the homeless.

A good resource is the Aloha United Way's 211 program, an information and referral service. Go to auw211.org and click on the “;clothing/food/personal goods/services.”; Or just call 211.