City may block access to Pokai Bay boat ramp

City may block access to Pokai Bay boat ramp
Published: Oct. 5, 2015 at 7:22 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 5, 2015 at 9:31 PM HST
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'No Parking' signs at Pokai Bay boat ramp
'No Parking' signs at Pokai Bay boat ramp

MAILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's no longer used for launching vessels. Instead, beachgoers use the boat ramp at Pokai Bay for parking, despite No Parking signs and police issuing parking tickets.

"We had three cars parked over here. And he went ticket all three of them," Ailene Kama said.

Pokai Bay users value the easy access to water the ramp gives them.

"People use it for wheelchair access. They use it for parking. For loading, unloading.  So it's very heavily utilized," Sen. Maile Shimabukuro said.

The city said it must restrict ramp parking because oil and other fluids from vehicles might get into the water, violating a national pollutant ordinance.

The ramp doesn't meet ADA specifications.  So there's talk the city might put up a barricade around the ramp.

"I think that's really drastic if they do barricade. But if that's what it's going to take so everything is fair, then you gotta do what you gotta do," Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board member Richard Landford said.

"Uncle" George Kalilikane uses the ramp to off-load 28 standup paddleboards for the free lessons he does twice a week at Pokai Bay.

"The ideal situation is we move the sign and everybody parks," he said.  "But at no point they should come to a point and say, 'We're just going to block this whole area off. Nobody can us it,'" he said.

Besides a barricade, the circular driveway that leads to the ramp may be closed to traffic with posts or a gate. Frequent users of Pokai Bay said that would force them to tote gear a long way from the parking lot to the water and back.

"It would be a lot a lot of humbug," one fisherman said.

"I want to see the ramp given back to the community," Kalilikane said.

The Pokai Bay boat ramp issue will be discussed at Tuesday's meeting of the Waianae Neighborhood Board.

The Department of Parks and Recreation released the following statement on Monday:

"The Poka‘i Bay boat ramp is no longer used for launching boats now that the Wai‘anae Boat Harbor is in place.  In the absence of boats, many individuals started using the ramp for parking.  Parking cannot be allowed on the ramp because any oil or other pollutants that drip from the vehicle onto the ramp will be washed into the waters of the bay, a violation of state and federal clean water regulations.

A final decision on the future of the ramp has not been made.  The ramp is currently used to give kayaks and stand up paddleboards access to the water.  DPR will meet with DLNR to discuss the options available.  We will also take the input from the neighborhood board into consideration.  In the meantime, we ask everyone to observe the posted no parking signs to help keep Poka‘i Bay clean."

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