Mayor signs bill limiting Waikiki road closures for parades, block parties

Mayor signs bill limiting Waikiki road closures for parades, block parties
A road closure in Waikiki for a recent parade down Kalakaua Avenue. (Photo: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill Friday that will limit the number of allowable road closures each year for parades or block parties in Waikiki.

Bill 8 establishes new rules for organizations looking to hold events in Waikiki that will impact traffic patterns.

The new law allows just 27 such events to be held in a calendar year: 15 of the slots are scheduled for what are known as legacy parades — processions that have been held every year for at least the past 15 years.

If the event doesn't run going forward, it loses that legacy status.

The remaining 12 events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and must serve a public purpose that needs to be approved by the director of the city’s Department of Transportation Services.

Officials say it might not even be the last time the number of events is reduced.

“I’m not sure that it’s the last number that you’ll see. It could possibly go lower in the future," said Mike Formby, a former Honolulu City Council member. "But the goal was to give the City tools to allow them to better balance the needs of the Waikiki community, with those who seek to shut down major thoroughfares for private activities and parades.”

Area residents hope the measure will help them avoid an abundance of hours-long traffic jams and other issues.

“We have constantly had people come to our meetings and say, ‘I can’t get home on Friday night because this part of Kalakaua is blocked, traffic is backing up,’" said Bob Finley, the chair of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. "And I think this is a great step to improve the situation.”

Copyright 2019 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.