Question: We were leaving Hanauma Bay about 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, and counted 34 empty stalls in the parking lot. But when we drove back to the top to exit the lot, there was a sign saying the lot was filled and guards were turning away cars. Why were they turning away cars when there were more than enough parking spaces available to the public?
parking count off
Answer: Alan Hong, manager of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, looked into the matter but said he ultimately could not find an explanation for what happened.
"I certainly apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused," he said.
Hong said, "We do counts in our parking lot all the time." The procedure is to wait until there are 15 empty stalls, then allow 15 cars in. A guard at the parking booth will radio the guard at the front gate of the count, Hong said.
On that day, among other times, the parking lot became full at 1:54 p.m., at which time it was closed.
"We have no explanation as to how our count could have been so far off when we reopened the parking lot at 2:33 p.m.," Hong said. The lot was not closed for the rest of the afternoon.
"The staff has been reminded to be more diligent in the counting," he said.
Hong noted that there have been occasions when guards have been ready to let 15 cars in, but a police officer, seeing cars parked illegally on the shoulder of the highway, will ask that the opening be held off until cars on the highway are moving again.
The problem, besides posing a traffic hazard, is that those illegally parked cars will see the guard opening the gate, then try to "jam into the entranceway at once, cutting off cars (driving by) on the highway," he said.
Sometimes 20 to 30 cars will try to get in, he said. So, there are times when "we do end up with more (open) stalls than 15 at that point."
Q: Is there any city ordinance or fire law regarding the amount of space a walkway should have? I have been to a Chinatown marketplace and notice it is always crowded with very limited aisle space.
A: Enforcement of the aisle space requirements of such an establishment is split between the city building and fire departments.
Basically, the Building Code says the minimum clear aisle space shall be 36 inches if tables, counters, furnishings, merchandise or similar obstructions are placed on one side only and 44 inches when such obstructions are placed on both sides of the aisle.
If movable obstructions are involved, the fire department will investigate the matter. Call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 831-7778. If any type of permanent obstruction is involved, call the Building Department at 527-6071.
Capt. Carl Lorenzo of the Fire Prevention Bureau went to the marketplace to check out your complaint last week and found there was no violation.
He noted that the lines painted on the floor to designate the aisles are spaced wider than the minimum required. So even though there may be a crate or two placed in the aisle, there was still at least 44 inches of space, he said.
Lorenzo also said the building's management company monitors the vending activity there. You might try contacting the company directly next time.
AuweThe state spent a lot of money planting naupaka and palm trees along Lagoon Drive. But the area by the seaplane landing is an eyesore. Something should be done to clean it up! -- James
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