City looks for ways to ease parking crunch in Honolulu

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.

Click here to view more findings from the report.

Department of Transportation Services

Surface Parking Lots

Name Stalls Type Rate Time Limit
Palace Square Post Office 32 Metered $1.50/hr 1 hour
Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot #1 270 Operator Varies
Kaimuki Municipal Parking Lot #2 106 Metered $.75/hr 2 hours
Kailua Elderly Parking Garage 140 Metered $.75/hr 5 hours
Kailua Municipal Parking Lot 140 Metered $.75/hr 5 hours
Kuhio Kaiolu Parking Lot 65 Metered $1.50/hr 5 hours
Wahiawa Parking Lot 17 Marked Free 1 hour
Salt Lake Parking Lot 152 Metered $.10-.50/hr 2 hours

Total: 922 stalls

Off-Street Parking Garages

Name Stalls Rate Time Limit
Chinatown Gateway Garage 275 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Harbor Court Garage (Queen Street) 458 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Harbor Village Garage (River/Nimitz) 72 $1.50/hour 24 hours
Hale Pauahl Garage (Beretania St) 197 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Kekaulike Courtyards Garage 52 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Kukui Plaza Garage 434 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Marin Tower Garage (Smith Street) 413 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight
Smith Beretania Garage (Beretania) 118 $1.50/half-hr 6 a.m.-midnight

Total: 2,019 stalls

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