Kakaako Waterfront Park's temporary shorter hours took effect Thursday night. But dozens of park users were unaware of the early closure because of the short notice, and officials took it easy on enforcement as a result.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority announced the temporary early closures Wednesday after light poles were tampered with, apparently by homeless tapping into their power. The HCDA then cut off power to those parts of the park, and announced the shorter hours to keep people safe in areas that are no longer lit at night.
"Well, good luck surfing if you get off work at 5 if you gotta leave at 6," said Robert Lyons, who walks his dogs daily in the park. "It's not fair."
The HCDA announced that the park gates would be closed at 6 p.m., and that cars left in the parking lot would be towed, something that normally happens at the regular park closing time.
"They usually close the gate at 10 o'clock," said Kanekoa Crabbe, one of the organizers of the annual Point Panic Bodysurfing Championship held at the park. "At around 9:50 they come in with the two truck. And once ten o'clock strikes, they start towing cars out of here."
But by 6:30, only the main gate by the John A. Burns School of Medicine was locked. That kept more people in the park trying to find another way out.
Because of the short notice, there was no towing of cars. Instead, the lone security guard on duty at the time politely asked people to leave. But those people didn't include the homeless, even though outreach workers have been talking with them over the past few days.
"I don't begrudge the people living here because they got nowhere else to go, but I wish they would take better care," complained Lyons.
"Basically, HCDA and the subcontractor security are not enforcing the 'no overnight' rules here at this park. Simple as that," said Crabbe.
While the first night's enforcement was light, it still remains to be seen exactly what actions will be taken in the coming days of the park's temporary shorter hours.