LANIKAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
A recent holiday in Lanikai looked like rush hour at the swap meet. There were too many vehicles, not enough parking space, and lots of people parking illegally. It happens on weekends, too, when motorists cram cars into the bicycle lane, forcing pedestrians, joggers and bike riders into the street.
"It's really more than just traffic congestion or inconvenience. It's a safety issue. And we've always viewed it that way," city Department of Transportation Services director Michael Formby said.
The city is now cracking down harder to discourage people from parking in the bike lane that runs along the three-mile loop around Lanikai.
"We're putting down No Parking symbols on the bike lane. That's the first time we've ever done that in the City and County of Honolulu," Formby said.
Ignore the warning and pay the price. Starting July 1 the fine jumped from $35 per violation to $200. Residents who have lived with the parking problem for years are cautiously optimistic it will help.
"It may help for a few of the people. But I don't think it's going to help for the majority. I think that because people just want to get to the ocean and get to the beach," Tom Rietow.
"I'd hate to see people getting ticketed left and right if there aren't signs up," Lanikai resident Megan Lorenzo said.
New No Parking signs are coming, and the city's spacing numerous No Parking symbols in the bike lane to reinforce its message..
"When somebody drives in they can't say that within their visual distance they didn't have notice that it was a bike lane," Formby said. "We think $200 will get the attention of people who drive into Lanikai or anywhere else on the island and park in bike lanes."
The city will also put up No Parking signs at certain key intersections in Lanikai that are close to beach access points to clear those areas for pedestrians.