In Kalihi Valley, city's parking by permit trial has residents smiling

In Kalihi Valley, city's parking by permit trial has residents smiling
Updated: Apr. 17, 2017 at 5:47 PM HST
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KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For years, residents in Kalihi Valley have been dealing with a chronic parking problem.

But these days, they're all smiles: A pilot project that limits parking in the area to residents is working, they say.

"It was almost overnight from April 1 -- total change!" said Mona Wood-Sword, who lives on Wilson Street.

Through this month, the city Department of Transportation Services is requiring people who park overnight on Wilson and Jennie streets -- known as the Wilson Tract -- to have a parking permit.

Wood-Sword and others say it used to be a free-for-all.

"If they didn't come home by a certain time they would not have a place to park their car and therefore could not park in their neighborhood," DTS deputy Director Jon Nouchi said.

People from outside the community used to take a lot of the spaces and were blamed for car break-ins, loitering and littering.

Wood-Sword said those incidents have dropped dramatically, too.

"I forgot what a quiet, peaceful, clean neighborhood we used to have. And it's come back," she said.

The parking permits are free. Residents get up to two per home, and they can request more for parties or other events.

Vehicles without permits are ticketed and towed.

Through April 17, police issued 20 citations for illegally parked vehicles.

"It's literally revitalized that neighborhood," said Chris Wong. chairman of the Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board.

But there is a downside.

Streets just outside the Restricted Parking Zone are getting the vehicles that used to park on Wilson and Jennie, upsetting those residents.

"Those people are saying we want this same program, can we start to roll out a pilot project here as well?" Wong said.

There's no guarantee those communities will get it.

Nouchi said every community is different so what works in Kalihi Valley may not work in another neighborhood.

The pilot project in Kalihi Valley ends April 30.

Wood-Sword and others who live along the Wilson Tract want the city to making the permitting requirement permanent.

"We do have the ability to extend the program and we will do that on a discretionary basis, based on what we hear from the neighborhood and what we hear from our City Council, and what we hear from our state senators and state reps," Nouchi said.

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