City & County of Honolulu

Oahu parking spaces
may be getting bigger

The City Council reviews
a proposal to enlarge stalls

Squeezing large sports utility vehicles into tight parking stalls around Oahu could be a thing of the past.

"Cars are getting bigger ... so parking spaces should not be getting smaller," said former state judge and state senator Russell Blair, who broached the subject to the City Council's zoning committee yesterday. "Small stalls result in property damage and make it difficult for drivers to back out of the stall safely."

Blair is asking the city to increase the dimensions of standard parking spaces to 19 feet long and 8 feet, 6 inches wide. Currently, the dimensions are 18 feet long and 8 feet, 3 inches wide.

In written testimony, Blair said he believes cars are getting too big, but "that's what people want and are buying."

The measure before the committee is a resolution that asks the city administration to begin the process of changing the ordinance.

The committee held off making a decision on the bill until its next meeting to give the public more time to comment on the measure.

Eric Crispin, director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting, said adopting bigger parking dimensions could mean problems for businesses that have already striped their lots for smaller stalls.

"There are cost implications. I'm sure if you were to ask developers, while the dimensions may not seem like a great big change, it does affect the structural phase for certain types of construction, high-rise condos," Crispin said. "Sure, everyone would like to have bigger parking stalls but ... we in Honolulu are a little bit different from other places on the mainland where vast expanses of land are available. Everything, it seems, in Hawaii is a little more compact."

Council members worried about the impact the larger parking spaces might have on building-density requirements.

"But the other side of that ... it's happening to a lot of people, even in my family, the possibility of the owner of a car parked beside you banging your car," Councilman Romy Cachola said. "Or irritation between two owners of the car, one going after the insurance company of another and thereby increasing the cost of insurance because the insurance company has to pass on the expense of repairing the dings."


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