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With construction tying up coveted spaces, weekend parking at popular park is a bear

Updated: Nov. 1, 2020 at 6:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Stan Togashi said parking at Ala Moana Regional Park is so bad these days, he has get there two hours earlier Sundays when he takes his kids there to the play.

“So I come actually at 6 a.m. so I can get a parking stall. And my wife brings my daughters over at 8:30 so that we can go to the tennis courts and then go to the beach after," the Pauoa resident said.

Weekend parking has always been a scarce commodity at Ala Moana Regional Park.

But ongoing construction has made it’s even more of a headache.

Nearly half of Ala Moana’s 1,000 parking spots have been tied up by a $2.5 million repaving project, which has closed the park’s Magic Island lot.

The city initially said the work would take until the end of the year.

But when park users said that was too long, the city said it would reopen it at the beginning of October, then pushed it to the end of the month.

Now it says it won’t reopen until Thanksgiving.

“Very frustrating," said Nuuanu resident Sean Dunckel.

“It shouldn’t take this long to pave this square footage. So I don’t understand what the hold up is.”

Construction began in April when the park was closed due to the pandemic. Community leaders and park users question why the work wasn’t fast tracked during the shutdown.

“There were months where it seemed like nothing was being done, so the public is getting a little antsy," said Shar Chun-Lum, of the Save Ala Moana Beach Park Hui.

“People are just wondering why it would take quite so long to get a parking lot resurfaced.”

The city said its contractor didn’t have the permits to work at nights or weekends but said they are still on schedule.

The city added that most of the repaving has been completed but that there’s still some landscaping work to be done before the reopening.

Some park users say the wait will be worth it.

“I look at it as a blessing," said Ala Moana area resident Debra Berger.

“Yes, it’s a little inconvenience right now but the park is getting renovated. I don’t know when it was last renovated. The parking lot is going to be beautiful.”

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