Business owners praise decision to expand sit/lie law
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Honolulu is moving ahead with plans to keep sidewalks clear. The expansion of the law banning sitting and lying on sidewalks went into effect Tuesday.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the sit/lie law has worked miracles in Waikiki. Now it's in effect for 13 other areas around the island.
"This bill is about keeping our sidewalks open for people to do their business. For pedestrians to walk on. For businesses to get their deliveries made. To use them for the intent they were designed for. Not to sit on, not to lie on, but to walk on," said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayor.
Chinatown business owners say they are thrilled with the expansion.
"This is a huge step forward for us for the City. We've really needed the help and I think this is really going to affect the small businesses in Chinatown," said Jeff Mull, who owns the business Onward Creative.
"I think this is the start of an exciting new day for this neighborhood, for Chinatown and this community. This legislation is proof that when the government and the community work together great and important things can happen," said Ruth Bolan, Hawaii Theatre President.
"This is fantastic. This is what we've been looking for. Some action," said Chu Lan Schubert Kwock, Chinatown Business & Community Association.
"It's going to do a lot of good for Chinatown," said Joseph Young, Honorary Mayor of Chinatown.
There are some loopholes to the law, for example, on River Street, people cannot sit or lie on the sidewalk on the Diamondhead side, but on the Ewa and Aala Park side they can. The thought is people will simply cross the street to avoid a ticket.
"I think that the high functioning population of homeless will progress, however I already know that there are many folks who simply choose to live homeless," said Tristan "Chico" Martinez, who says he is going through a rough patch and has been homeless three months. "I don't think it's a solution, however it is a step in the right direction which we appreciate."
Since the law started in Waikiki in September, Honolulu Police say 72 people have been cited and two arrested. They face up to a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.
Homeless advocates also say people just move to other areas.
"It actually forces some of these individuals into hiding and the outreach worker is unable to locate them. It just makes it more challenging," said Scott Morishige, PHOCUSED, a homeless advocate.
It is however one less road block keeping business owners up at night.
HPD says there will be a two week education period letting people know about the law, but after that they will be cited. Police officers will hand out cards with information on how to get help. There is shelter space available today.
The areas affected include:
To see the law and specific boundaries of the Bill 48 click here.