City looks for ways to ease parking crunch in Honolulu

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Published: Wednesday, July 5th 2017, 12:11 pm HST
By KHON2's
Web Staff

A new report from the City and County of Honolulu looks into the city’s parking crunch.

While the city controls nearly 10,000 parking stalls with user fees, the study notes what most of us already know: parking is a scarce and coveted commodity.

Throw in a low hourly turnover of spaces and you’ve got:

  • Cruising, or driving in circles looking for an empty spot, which increases traffic congestion, and
  • Conflicts when spillover parking by commuters who work or live nearby take up spaces in a neighborhood.

To clear up conflicts, earlier this year, the city rolled out its parking permit program in Kalihi Valley. Those who live in the area get a set amount of parking passes for themselves and their guests. Any cars parked without a permit could be towed.

It worked. The city says the new system kept 30 percent of on-street parking open and available.

But what about business areas, like Waikiki and downtown Honolulu?

According to the report, a quick survey of Waikiki found 100-percent of on-street metered parking spaces occupied.

That leads us to what’s call the 85-percent rule. Traffic engineers generally recommend that one in seven on-street parking spaces be vacant at all times, serving as a benchmark of acceptable parking availability.

So how can we free up space?

The city’s got part one done, which is raising prices. The report says people are willing to pay more as long as on-street parking is available.

Other options on the to-do list:

  • Extend metered parking hours, for example, offering metered hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., instead of 6 p.m.
  • Install more smart meters, which give drivers more options to pay and help keep tabs on which cars have run out of time.

Fees to run the meters are roughly $10,000 a month, but the city says smart meters have helped raise revenue by 25 percent.

Check the bottom of the original KHON2 article for more findings from the report, as well as charts including rates and time limits of Surface Parking Lots and Off-Street Parking Garages.