Free Parking May End At Popular Waikiki Recreation Area

Ed Underwood
Ed Underwood
Chong Kim
Chong Kim
John Morton
John Morton

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - If you ever head into Waikiki you know parking is already at a premium and free parking is all but impossible to find.

Now a new plan by the state may take what few free spaces are left, and start charging for public parking.

It's a beautiful break at the end of the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

There's just one problem for surfers wanting to hit the waves.

"Everyday everybody is fighting for parking," said Lucas Won, a Salt Lake resident.

You see, most parking here at the harbor is free.

But time may be running out on the free ride because it's not only surfers grabbing a space to catch a wave.

Construction workers on nearby jobs also take up spaces.

Plus hundreds of employees from hotels and nearby businesses park here as well.

But if the state has its way, most everyone will pay in the future.

"We're proposing to put in a parking vendor at the harbor only, our parking tenants will be provided passes like they always have been and everyone else will be able to pull a ticket," said Ed Underwood of the State Division of Boating.

The Ala Wai Boat Harbor already has some pay parking - these meters for dozens of spaces, but the idea is to charge for the majority of spots.

The area surfers use would stay free under the state's plan. But many still worry the proposed plan would still wipeout their spots.

"Still the construction workers or hotel workers will take up all the stalls. Basically we'll have to end up paying just to go surf," said Chong Kim, a resident of Halawa.

Many boaters are in support of the state's plan, because they already pay a small fee for parking.

But it's just the boaters who are paying to park.

"Where else can you find free parking other than Ala Wai Boat Harbor Everyone is abusing it - especially the hotels," said Waikiki resident John Morton.

"It should be first for the boaters, cause its supported by the boating fees then surfers or beach goers to use," said Reg White, a Waikiki Boater. "It's not for people who are working or using it as a parking lot."

The state will discuss this plan with boaters, surfers and those interested Thursday at 5:30 pm at the Hawaii Yacht Club.