Abandoned cars are everywhere. Thank a slump in worldwide metal prices

Updated: Mar. 13, 2018 at 5:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is cracking down on abandoned cars dumped on Oahu streets.

After Hawaii News Now reported dozens of derelict cars left on Puuhale Road in Kalihi last week, the city towed 14 of the junked cars.

Another dozen were picked up by area businesses after they were tagged by the city.

"When you walk around here you just feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders," said Spencer Nash, of Auto World Specialists in Kalihi. "Overwhelming satisfaction that someone stepped up and cleaned up around here."

For weeks, area businesses and residents have complained about the nuisance cars, which attracted homeless, took away legal parking spaces and posed safety and sanitation hazards for people who live and work in the area.

According to the city, it's an islandwide problem.

Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city Department of Customer Services, said the city took care of 375 abandoned vehicles on roadways last month alone.

She said February's totals were about double the monthly numbers of several years ago.

Much of the problem is due to a worldwide slump in scrap metal prices, she said.

With prices so low, the large recyclers have little incentive to buy the old cars for their scrap value.

Another problem: The city is also required to get rid of the cars through a public auction, making it harder for it to get rid of abandoned vehicles quickly.

A bill moving through the state Legislature would waive the public auction requirement and require counties to pick up junked vehicles within 10 business days of them being reported abandoned.

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