City Council passes bill that reserves 160 parking spaces for car-sharing companies

City council passes bill that reserves 160 parking spaces for car sharing companies

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday voted to pass a bill that will increase parking availability for car-sharing services around Oahu.

The proposal allows car-share companies to rent a total of 160 city-controlled parking spaces ― 80 off-street parking spots, and 80 on-street spots. The spots will be used to stage vehicles that can be rented on-the-spot, by the hour, using a mobile app.

While supporters say the service provides the public with another transportation option, thus reducing the need to drive their own cars into Urban Honolulu, opponents worry it’ll take away much-needed spaces in places like Chinatown and Waikiki.

“Every time I come to Honolulu, I have a hard time trying to find parking,” said Choon James, who testified in opposition of the bill.

The bill allows for no more than two car-sharing spaces per street block, and companies will have to pay an annual fee for each spot.

The price depends on the location: at the city-owned lot at the intersection of Smith and Beretania streets, the annual rate per space for a car-share company would be $3,150.

That's more than double what the public would pay, but some feel the price is still too low.

“A responsible council should consider charging car-share businesses a higher rate, because they will have prime spaces in prime locations,” said Shar Chun-Lum, who also opposed the bill.

Servco’s Hui Car Share program, which launched last year, is one of the services that will rent the new stalls. So far, the vehicles are parked only on private property.

Company officials say the bill will allow them to expand their network and help those who aren’t able to afford a vehicle.

"Our customers are asking for accessible, convenient, and affordable locations within walking distance of where they live and work," said Julie Yamamoto from Servco.

Some council members compared car-sharing to the Biki bike share program, which continues to use more than 30 prime on-street parking spots at no cost.

City officials say they have not identified the specific spaces that would be used for car sharing.

“Our intent, though, is not to take away existing on street parking stalls where we can avoid doing so,” said Wes Frysztacki, director of the city’s Department of Transportation Services. “Our intent is to try to find new locations that are currently not ones that are available for normal on-street parking.”

The council voted 7 to 2 to pass the bill, which now heads to Mayor Caldwell for approval.

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