Group seeks better public accessibility to Ko Olina lagoons - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Group seeks better public accessibility to Ko Olina lagoons

KO OLINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Ko Olina Resort has 197 free public parking stalls in multiple parking lots for the popular lagoons on its property.

But people who frequent the lagoons and the beach complain that on busy days, it's nearly impossible to find a free stall.

"There's always a line coming out of the parking lot," beachgoer Aaron Cozo said.

Beachgoer Rayleen Bustamente-Tolbe agreed. "We would be waiting an hour just to get one parking stall."

John Shockley, of the Free Access Coalition, said to meet demand Ko Olina should allow free public parking along the access roads that lead to the lagoons.

"But it's all listed as no parking and they'll tow you if you park your car there," he said.

Ko Olina said those roads are private and must be clear for resort traffic.

"Parking on our privately owned roadways is restricted to accommodate free flowing resort circulation, bike and golf cart access and unimpeded emergency lanes to serve our resort, commercial and residential properties," Ko Olina Resort Association said in a statement.

The association said beachgoers who can't find a stall in their free lots can pay for parking at the marina and in hotels.

Shockley has another idea that involves a large parking lot at Paradise Cove.

"They could open this to the public. They could have it dawn til dusk so that the beachgoers could be happy and then they could use it for their private luaus," he said.

But Paradise Cove said opening their parking lot for beach parking would create liability concerns, force the company to hire security, and cause problems for luau customers who start showing up at three in the afternoon.

It did open the lot to pay parking in 2014, but found a lack of demand from beachgoers. 

City Councilman Ron Menor worries about the parking situation with two more resorts coming to Ko Olina, 

"It's going to be very important for the city to more proactively ensure that the developer provides adequate parking spaces so that the kinds of beach access issues and concerns that have come up in Ko Olina will not reoccur again," he said.

Shockley, of the coalition, is pitching his Ko Olina parking ideas to the city.

"If the beach is free and you can't reach the beach, then what's the point?" he said.

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