Lawmakers aim to increase parking fines to protect people along state highways

Updated: May. 1, 2019 at 10:29 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii is on the verge of a major increase in parking fines along state highways.

The new surcharge is meant to keep sightseers from pulling over in dangerous areas.

One example is at Laniakea Beach also known as “Turtle Beach where huge crowds of people flock there every day to surf and see the sea turtles. To get there, most of them cross busy Kamehameha Highway illegally creating bumper to bumper traffic.

Although there are multiple “No Parking” signs, many people park there anyway.

Now, lawmakers are hoping a $200 surcharge will deter that.

Some visitors are doubtful it will work.

"I don’t think you can put a price on it because people will appeal it no matter what,” said visitor from Canada Donna Johnston. “I think what’s best is enforcement.”

A few years ago, the state blocked the parking area forcing drivers to park farther down the road, but that created more safety hazards. The state then reopened the illegal parking lot.

If the governor signs off, it’s a $200 surcharge above the current fine.

The money collected will go into the state highway fund and the police department will get half of each surcharge.

“Most of the people who come to the beach are tourists, which we love here in Hawaii, but they can just leave without paying the fine,” said North Shore resident Bart Reeser.

"As a visitor, I definitely see that as a very bad sign, even for the tourism sake. It's such a beautiful beach,” said California visitor Karthik Sivakoti.

The community has been pushing for a long-term solution for decades.

The state has been studying plans for a bypass road with a parking lot and a pedestrian bridge to the beach.

Reeser is hoping those plans will come to fruition.

"That would maybe keep the traffic moving and plus the tourists can see the turtles because it’s obviously a huge tourist attraction, which is what we need here in Hawaii so much, it’s what our economy is based on mostly,” Reeser said.

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