A bicyclist makes her way down Ala Wai between parked cars and traffic. A plan to remove free parking to build a bike lane has created controversy in the community.

Bike-lane critics
lament parking loss

But supporters say a lane along
Ala Wai is necessary for safety

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Some residents and workers in Waikiki are against the city's plan to get rid of the free parking along Ala Wai to create a bike lane.

City & County of Honolulu

But others stress that a bike lane is vital to ensure the safety of joggers and walkers.

Free parking is difficult to find in Waikiki, said Grace Nakamura, front desk clerk at the Best Western Ohana Surf hotel at 2280 Kuhio Ave.

"We need every bit of help," said Nakamura, adding that employee parking costs $60 a month.

The city Department of Transportation Services is asking for $1.4 million in fiscal year 2004 to create a 10-foot-wide bike lane with lighting and landscaping along the mauka side of Ala Wai between Kapahulu Avenue and McCully Street.

The request is part of the city's capital improvement project plan before the Council Budget Committee.

The bike path would connect with an existing path along Paki Avenue and a planned path on Diamond Head.

Like Nakamura, Marie Applegate, who lives in an apartment on Kioniana Street, said a bike lane along Ala Wai is not necessary.

"It will be a waste of money," said Applegate, who exercises along the canal about three times a week.

Normally, bicyclists are cordial and give joggers forewarning when they are about to pass them on the sidewalk, she said.

But accidents happen.

Shirley Saquiton, the front desk clerk at the Aston Coconut Plaza Hotel at 450 Lewers St., said that about a year ago, a woman asked for help after a bicyclist hit her from behind as she jogged on the sidewalk along the Ala Wai Canal. Saquiton tended to bruises and cuts on the jogger's face, arms and legs.

"It's not right" that bicyclists regularly use the sidewalk, Saquiton said.

City transportation officials are meeting with residents and owners of the buildings along Ala Wai to discuss bike lane options. Parking concerns could be handled by changing the second right lane into a parking lane during appropriate hours, said DTS Director Cheryl Soon.

She added that the bike lane would complement another project to build two municipal parking lots in Waikiki.

The city's budget plan includes $2.525 million for the Department of Planning & Permitting to acquire a parcel between Kaiulani and Liliuokalani avenues and between Ala Wai and Tusitala Street for a parking lot.

Parking in Waikiki has been an issue since the building boom of the 1970s, said Planning & Permitting Department Director Eric Crispin. He said residents have been asking for solutions.

Applegate said there are some residents who need free parking along the canal because the monthly parking fee in Waikiki can run up to $100 per month.

The city plans to build the other lot along Aloha Drive. Bill Sweatt, of the Community Vision Group and Waikiki Residents Association, said the property on Aloha Drive has been approved for purchase by the city.

City Transportation Services

E-mail to City Desk


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