HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - When you see a no parking sign attached to a parking meter, what do you do? It’s a tough question in a place where parking is challenging, like Waikiki.
Tim Garry comes to Waikiki just about every day to surf. He can’t find a spot on Ohua Avenue to park, because many of the metered stalls have been sold temporarily to private companies for weeks at a time. It’s a longstanding problem that has gotten worse in the last year.
“There are 29 spots on Ohua. And half of them are taken by construction people,” said Garry.
Garry said he spoke to the city, and was told that contractors can get a one-month permit to use metered parking stalls. They must post the dates and the times, along with the permit, on the temporary no parking signs. But some of those are definitely out of date.
“April first to April 30th,” Garry read off one sign. "Well, it’s May 17th today.
He walked a short distance to the next set of signs attached to parking meters. "If you look -- it’s May 6th (expiration date). Not valid. And they don’t pick up their signs, they don’t take them away.
Honolulu city councilman Tommy Waters, who took office less than ten days ago, said in a statement, “I understand the need for construction vehicles to be close to the construction site, but I am very concerned when parking stalls meant for local residents are restricted to the point where there are no meaningful alternatives. It would be helpful if the construction site could provide off street parking.”
Garry said he also realizes construction workers need a place to park, and had a suggestion. “Have them make a deal with Jefferson Elementary School. They have a huge field over there. They can make money through their PTA, and also solve the contractor’s problem of having a place for their employees to park.”
Garry noted that the city also doubled the parking meter rates in February, from $1.50 to $3 per hour, and extended the time to feed the meter from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Waikiki. But he said there’s a lack of enforcement.
“It is quarter to seven right now. And there’s only two meters that are actually operating. The rest are all flashing red,” meaning that they hadn’t been fed.
“Nobody’s paying the meter. Even though the city doubled the price on the meter, nobody’s paying it,” he added.
Oahu resident Paul Hefner paid, after getting his car into coned-off stalls between a dumpster and a forklift parked on Paoakalani Avenue, a block away. Those stalls were also marked with temporary no parking signs, saying that cars would be towed away Mondays through Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., during the month of May.
“We saw the no parking -- kinda looked a little shady," said Hefner. "And then we kinda pulled up and read the fine print because we’re from Washington D.C., so we’re kinda used to this whole construction thing.
“After I read it out loud a couple of times, we were like, yeah, we can park here and not get towed," he said.