Residents who search daily for parking on congested streets in their neighborhoods may find relief with a measure being considered by the Honolulu City Council.
Bill 51, which would allow the city to create “residential parking zones,” cleared another hurdle Wednesday when the council unanimously passed it on second reading. If the bill becomes law, residents in certain neighborhoods would be able to get permits granting them privileges to park in spaces beyond allotted time limits displayed on street signs.
It’s the city’s latest attempt to manage parking on Honolulu’s congested streets.
In June, Honolulu created its first restricted parking zone in Kalihi Valley. The zone was made permanent following a month-long pilot program in April.
The permitting program in Kalihi offers each household along certain streets in Kalihi’s Wilson Tract two residential and two visitor permits. With the permits, residents aren’t subject to the one-hour parking time limits on Kalihi streets from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Aside from Kalihi Valley, no other Oahu communities have requested the zones, according to Jon Nouchi, deputy director of the Department of Transportation Services.
“In the past Manoa and Kailua have expressed interest,” Nouchi wrote in an email.
A number of mainland cities, including Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle, have residential parking zones to accommodate residents in neighborhoods where demand for parking is high.
A June 2015 study of Honolulu streets by Walker Parking Consultants found city streets in downtown Honolulu offer drivers 400 on-street parking spaces. The metered stalls in the area were occupied 77 percent of the time, the study found.
Waikiki had just 260 spaces at the time of the study, which found all of the on-street metered parking spaces occupied.
Drivers who find a stall in Honolulu’s dense commercial areas usually can’t park their cars for long. Marked parking stalls in Waikiki and downtown have a one-hour time limit. Other areas offer limits of two hours or longer.
Most cities charge residents for parking permits. San Francisco charges $128 for an annual pass, and prices in Seattle vary by neighborhood. Nouchi said Honolulu is considering fees for permits, but hasn’t yet created specific regulations.
A 2015 bill introduced by Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga proposed requiring a fee for zone permits. The Transportation Committee deferred the bill that year.
Bill 51 would have no effect on parking meter fees, which the council voted to increase in June.