Triathletes frustrated at changes to popular Waimanalo road - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Triathletes frustrated at changes to popular Waimanalo road

Ann Kobayashi Ann Kobayashi

By Diane Ako - bio | email and Tai Hiranaka

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - A group of triathletes is frustrated about losing some prime parking space at a popular Windward workout area. It's near a residential area called Norfolk Pines, and they're asking the city to reconsider its plans.

This stretch of Old Waimanalo Road is a favorite for bikers, runners, and walkers. Triathlete Ralph Dobson said, "The road's really nice, there's a lot of hills and there's a good place to ride up and down on that area."

Bicyclist Heather Huitt said dirt bikers like her have it worse. "It's the only place for mountain biking on this side of the island. We're surprised. We used to always park up there. The guys the work across the street at the city used to always park there and watch our cars."

This is the city's Kailua-Waimanalo corporation yard. Across that, people used to park. In August, all that changed. "It's completely blocked off. They're putting in landscaping now. It's all chained off," noticed Huitt.

Dobson continued, "We have 20 of us parking. There was plenty of room to park. Now there's no parking at all."

City spokesman Johnny Brannon wrote that the city "took action in response to legitimate concerns about public safety and illegal activity in this area at night. There have been reports of frequent parties at this location requiring the Honolulu Police Department to break up fights and investigate underage drinking."

Brannon elaborated, "There have been gang fights with sometimes 20 to 30 people involved, and domestic violence between boyfriend/girlfriends and/or husband/wives, loud arguments and booming stereos. We have found and removed drug paraphernalia, women's underwear and used condoms, which are health concerns. The police have been called so many times that I have lost count."

"We completed the installation of an asphalt berm to deter Illegal activities and make it a safer place, as well as planted coconut trees, etc. We did not place ‘no parking' signs on that side of the road, but did place three along the grass frontage of our base yard, as people were parking along this side and causing a safety concern for drivers leaving the base yard who cannot see the oncoming traffic."

"They were also running over the PVC water pipe installed by the State Highways Department from the fire hydrant next to our gate, all the way to Kalanianaole Hwy. to water their hillside erosion project. Since it has running water going through it to the sprinklers that are set up, it could have ruptured. During the daytime there are illegal drug deals and drug use, as well as alcohol consumption right there where the employees were parking. We have had employees' cars broken into and stuff stolen from these cars during work hours."

"There have also been four to five occasions where cars have rolled down into the slope and had to be towed out. There are cars racing up and down the road and drifting in front of the yard at all hours of the day and night. On weekends there are those ‘ninja'-type racing motor bikes burning rubber, popping wheelies and doing crazy stunts."

"In the night it gets even worse, as there has been lots of illegal activities like drug use, drug deals, underage drinking, loitering, the breaking of beer bottles and littering all over the parking area and we have to sweep/clean it a couple of times per week and we have already had a bunch of flat tires on the employees cars from the broken glass, etc."

"There has been vandalism such as graffiti, damage to the wooden fence erected by the Norfolk Association, and their signs and plants vandalized. Our outgoing mailbox has been smashed with either a bat or pipe and the post damaged and had to be removed. The front gate to the base yard has been rammed numerous times and the locking pipe has had to be replaced a bunch of times. The bikers who use this area to race have painted arrows, start/end words on the road itself and erected tents in the grass area fronting the yard and have blocked the front gate many times."

A small grassy area is now the only place to park cars. When the grass area is full, the nearest parking space is at least a mile away. Huitt has experienced that for herself a few times. "A lot of times it's full and there's no parking at all. It's kind of irritating."

Dobson agreed. "You can't park there anymore. It's really frustrating."

Some athletes contacted Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, who told us, "It doesn't seem to make sense why they'd prevent people from parking in that area. It's not blocking traffic. It's not causing problems. I'll be working with the council member from that district (Barbara Marshall) to see what we can do about it. We should be helping people make life better."

Athletes are anxious for an answer. So far, the city said there are no plans to change it back, and that "police and nearby residents have been very appreciative because of the immediate and significant reduction of illegal activities in the area, especially at night."

Powered by Frankly