HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Parking problems could be the Grinch this Christmas. Ala Moana Shopping Center is short on stalls, but management is trying new ways to make space.
If only Santa Claus could deliver more parking stalls because construction is putting a big dent in parking taking up about 2,000 parking spaces or about a fifth of the total spots.
The Ala Moana Shopping Center gets 42 million visitations a year. That's 115,000 a day which is more than double what Disneyland sees. Yet finding parking at the world's largest open air mall doesn't always make people feel like they're in the happiest place on Earth.
"It was crazy. I got here about 12:15 in the afternoon and I was circling for about half an hour," said Camille Evans, from Honolulu.
"It's already bad it's going to get worse," said Reyna Estavillo, from Wahiawa.
Worse because construction is taking about 2,000 parking stalls. However mall management has a plan. It will reclaim 1,300 stalls from the construction company. Plus it will allow 500 employees to park at the Ala Moana Pacific Center next door on Friday evenings, Saturday and Sunday. And management will give 300 free bus passes to employees who promise not to drive to work. There will also be a couple hundred valet stalls for those willing to spend $5 not to deal with finding a stall.
"It can be a challenge. My advice to customers is to break out of what might be their normal shopping patterns. Try to shop in the evenings, try to shop in the mornings, try to shop on the weekdays. It's like going to a restaurant at lunchtime. If you don't have reservations you might be waiting awhile," said Scott Creel, Ala Moana Group Marketing Manager.
They considered shuttles but...
"It would have been a burden on our employees, mall employees and store employees and it's something that we have less control over," said Creel.
The mall routinely makes well over a billion dollars in revenue a year, so it knows how valuable customers are and it doesn't want to dampen the holiday cheer.
This time next year the new parking levels in the Mauka Ewa parking structure will be done which will add another 1,000 spaces. If some of the new things implemented this year work they will try it again next year as well.