Council to city: Replace parking stalls lost to urban bike lanes (or else)

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ultimatum has been issued in the battle between space for cars versus bikes on Hawaii roads.

Councilmembers are threatening to block money for more bike lanes if the city doesn't replace lost parking stalls.

So far, 184 on-street parking spaces have been removed to make way for bike lanes and the city's bike share program, known as Biki. On top of that, another 70 stalls will be gone by early next year as Honolulu's bicycle grid continues to expand.

For the owner of Raintree Bakery and Coffee House, feeding the meter has always been part of doing business on Pensacola Street.

But by year's end, the already limited parking is expected to become even more scarce as the city eliminates dozens of on-street stalls to make way for a new bike lane from Wilder to Waimanu.

"All of these businesses are going to go under. There is no way we can survive," bakery owner Jerry Hardee. "The fact that we had no voice in this, I did not think that this was right."

Hardee took those concerns to the neighborhood board and caught the attention of councilmembers. prompting two new proposals that would require the city to make up for the lost stalls.

Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga's idea would require the city to provide alternate parking options where stalls are being replaced with bike lanes. Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi's proposal would halt construction of the bike way on Pensacola until an alternative parking is provided.

"I think that's fair," said Jeconiah Kelley, general manager of Auntie Pasto's. He fears impacts from the bike lane could force the restaurant to cut labor, and adds the city needs to meet them half way.

"If they're going to do this, out of fairness they should help us out," said Kelley.

The city argues bike lanes are a key component of the complete streets policies, which the council approved.

In a statement the city said, "It is not always possible to maintain exact levels of parking and lanes on a one-to-one basis. To enforce these requirements would effectively disallow any progressive strides."

As the debate drags on, worry about what's to come is taking its toll on Hardee, the bakery owner.

"I've not been able to sleep," said Hardee. "I invested over $180,000 in this venture. I'm 68 years old now. I don't have a second chance here. This is my retirement."

Both proposals are set to go back before the City Council in May.

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