Kaimuki businesses convince city to postpone renovation of municipal parking lot

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A major parking lot renovation in Kaimuki has been rescheduled for January 2021 after business owners — already struggling amid the pandemic — complained.

City officials announced the $2.1 million improvement project in February.

The construction work was originally set to start in mid-March at the Kaimuki Municipal metered parking lot, which is bounded by Waialae, Koko Head, Harding and 12th avenues.

The city plans to replace the pavement and some trees that are damaging curbs in the lot.

The contract duration is eight months, but officials said the contractor estimates finishing in six months.

"Initially, I asked the Department of Design and Construction to start the paving while we’re in quarantine and just do it as quickly as possible,” said Honolulu City Councilman Tommy Waters.

“But even then, they said it would take four months."

The work will be done in three phases to ensure that some of the lot's 106 stalls will be available to the public.

“We could do it in one phase, but that would entail closing down the entire parking lot, which would definitely be a greater impact to the businesses. So that’s why we’re looking at phasing it,” said Mark Yonamine, director of the city’s Department of Design and Construction.

Parking is so precious in Kaimuki that a one-month project at the same lot in 2018 caused a 40% drop in sales for some businesses.

This time around, the city postponed the work until January after business owners asked for enough time to find alternate parking sites and warn their customers.

“Signage is so important for customers,” said Melissa Bow, owner of Via Gelato.

"This is what’s happening. This is the time. This is the date. This is where you can park. So that kind of planning, I think, really makes the project go more smoothly.”

Once the project starts, crews will be working Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

"The concern was they could be done with the lockdown and once that gets opened up, we’re not going to have any parking,” said Gayla Young, owner of Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery.

“I think the January start date is something that we can all work towards."

The adjacent Kaimuki Municipal gated parking lot will remain open.

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