One step closer to Maunawili trail parking solution

Lots of people in Hawaii like to go hiking.

One of the trails that’s really popular among locals and tourists is the trail that leads to the top of Mt. Olomana.

And that has created parking problems in the neighborhood below.

The governor has released $25,000 in state funds to study the potential for an off-site parking area near the trail head at Mt. Olomana.

It would be welcome relief for residents in Maunawili.

“And especially a lot of tourists come who’ve read about it in a tourist book and don’t have any real idea of anything beyond the beauty.” Maunawili neighborhood board Tony Locricchio said.

Not just tourists. Local residents park alongside the road that leads to the trails. Not just here, on neighborhood streets as well. The proposal for an off site parking area could alleviate some of these problems.

“It is a place where notices and warnings can be put up about conditions.  We had a tragic accident a very short time ago with an experienced hiker.” Locricchio said.

Building an off site parking lot will not be an easy task.

“There are private landowners involved. I understand that there is some land there involved owned by the Weinberg trust and there’s also some land owned by the golf course that operates in that area.” Senator Laura Thielen said.

Locricchio says that an off site parking lot will provide the opportunity to let hikers know about the challenges involved in the hike and leaving their car in the lot.

“People, well meaning people, come up and use ‘as is’ parking. And this would give them a place where they can park.” Locricchio said.

This is not the first time the subject has been discussed by residents.

“I think people were not keen on off-site parking back then, but people have come around to the fact that there probably does need to be an area there so hopefully we can garner that support.” Thielen said.

Olomana, Manoa Falls hiking trails in Hawaii have always been popular. But Thielen says, thanks to social media, that popularity has grown by leaps and bounds.

“President Obama comes back and goes hiking up by Lanikai Pillbox and Poom,” Thielen said. “The numbers going there just skyrocket so it’s happening in a lot of places around the state.”

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