WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Anyone who visits Waikiki knows how difficult it is to find parking. The city's proposal to double the cost of metered parking has residents up in arms, while others say it will increase the availability of those valuable stalls.
"It's very hard to find parking if you don't have something designated for you," said Monique Martinez, who works in Waikiki and is lucky enough to have parking provided at work.
"I have a bicycle. I go wherever I want to go," said longtime Waikiki resident Robert Tellander. "But people are waiting, stranded."
According to the Waikiki Improvement Association, a 2015 report studied 1,017 parking spaces in Waikiki. Those included 257 metered spaces, 117 marked stalls and 643 open parking spaces. A city proposal would add meters to those currently free spaces.
"When parking is free, it's almost impossible to find," said Rick Egged of the Waikiki Improvement Association. "I always say free parking is no parking."
A bill before the city council would double the cost to park in Waikiki from $1.50 to $3 per hour at a metered stall. It also would require that meters would have to be fed between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Currently, parking is free after 6 p.m.
The association is seeking more control over the situation. It's proposing the creation of a new special improvement district that would manage transportation and parking issues in Waikiki, including the possibility of having different metered parking rates for different streets in the district.
"I would ask the Waikiki people to give a parking discount to locals, because that's the number one gripe of locals who come to town, the parking meter rates," said Waikiki resident and neighborhood board member Linda Wong.
"We hope to be able to modify those to make them work better for Waikiki," said Egged. "So rather than having 'one price fits all,' we'll be able to have flexible pricing, so we can have discounts for residents, for example."
Hotel workers are also concerned, saying that it is already a struggle to find a place to park while they're at work. But Egged believes having more meters will make parking more readily available.