City will build parking lots at just 4 of 20 rail stations

City will build parking lots at just 4 of 20 rail stations
Published: Feb. 27, 2015 at 10:51 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city plans to build park-and-ride facilities at four rail transit stations, but the other 16 stations won't have parking lots because developers will not be required to build them, according to a proposal the city plans to unveil in the next month or two.

New parking standards the city will propose in the next couple of months will apply to transit-oriented development -- the apartments and shopping complexes built at or near rail stations.

The new rules will not require developers to build any extra parking for rail transit passengers at their developments.

"Once you're in the kind of downtown area, in general, people are already either walking or taking the bus to the stations so there's not a need for a lot of parking," said Harrison Rue, the city's community building and transit-oriented development administrator.

The city plans to build park-and-ride facilities at four of its 20 rail transit stations, with 4,100 parking spots for rail users at stations in East Kapolei (900 parking stalls), UH West Oahu (1,000 stalls), Pearl Highlands (1,600 stalls) and Aloha Stadium (600 stalls).

But developers will not be required to put rail parking lots near the other 16 rail stations.

"It's based on what works in Honolulu but also kind of best practice research of other ordinances around the country," Rue said.

Donna Wong heads Hawaii's Thousand Friends, a land and water use advocacy group that's been critical of the rail project.

"We just assumed that the stations would have a park and ride just because it makes sense. And all they do is just keep reducing it," Wong said.

She said the city's plan is not practical because it doesn't match the commuting patterns on Oahu.

"You look at the island lifestyle of taking your keiki to different schools, private schools, different lessons, hula, ukulele, etc., after school, it's just not conducive to not having your car available," Wong said.

But Rue said city buses will be re-directed to lead directly to rail stations, lessening the need for people to drive to the stations in urban Honolulu where there won't be rail parking lots.

Rue said other cities that built lots of rail parking facilities are finding that many of them are mostly empty, particularly in downtown areas.

The proposal first goes to the city Planning Commission and then the City Council in the next couple of months and it could be changed if there's enough public outcry for parking at more transit stations.

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