City Council takes up Kakaako parking issue

Honolulu City Council members may soon get involved in an ongoing battle over parking on some Kakaako streets. On Wednesday, they will consider a proposal to form a group that would examine who has authority over area roads, including Queen, Cooke, Cummins, Waimanu and Kamakee Streets.

For more than 50 years, Dexter Okada’s family has owned U. Okada & Company, a fish and seafood wholesale distributor, on Queen Street. One of the biggest differences now compared to decades ago? “More people looking for parking,” Okada said.

Queen Street is reportedly owned by Kakaako Land Company and street signs warn drivers there is no parking.

But there are also signs on some of streets that tell motorists they can park there for a price. One person said he pays $120 a month to park on this particular street.

When asked what his biggest concern is, Okada said “it’s just to get clarity of who owns what.”

His and five other businesses are part of a lawsuit hoping to get that clarity. Their attorney Mike Carroll said the roads used to belong to the Territory of Hawaii, and then the City, but not Kakaako Land Company.

“The streets have been used by the public for more than 80 years,” Carroll said. “The claim of ownership is not based on something that’s legitimate.”

That’s what council members could try to help resolve. The City Council will decide on a proposal that would create a working group to see if there is a need to find out if any city or state agency is responsible for maintenance.

According to the proposal, the state has already invested $217 million on improvement projects in Kakaako, and is an area that’s expected to have 30,000 residents by 2030.

The resolution states this battle over ownership of the roads “hinders (Hawaii Community Development Authority’s) plan for redevelopment” and “the City’s efforts to develop complete streets.”

If created, the working group could also recommend the city or state take ownership of the streets.

At the time of this story, KHON2 was trying to contact the attorney who represents Kakaako Land Company.

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