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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2002

City reconsiders Diamond Head parking plan

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The city is reconsidering a plan to eliminate 48 parking stalls on the makai side of Diamond Head Road to make room for bike and walking paths, a city spokeswoman said yesterday.

Rick Sakimoto, of Manoa, prepares for an afternoon of surfing yesterday off Diamond Head. Like others who surf off Diamond Head, Sakimoto parks his car along Diamond Head Road. The city is looking at replacing parking stalls with bike and foot paths.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The elimination of parking spaces, a component of the city's Diamond Head Recreational Master Plan, was criticized by surfers and others who felt their concerns were overlooked.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa said Mayor Jeremy Harris decided Friday to "work out a couple of alternative approaches to the parking problem" in response to concerns from City Councilman Duke Bainum.

Bainum, who was out of town yesterday, wrote city officials a letter May 30 expressing concern that "removing parking would adversely impact the surfers and other recreational users of the Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park."

Looking at alternatives will delay the project, which had been scheduled to begin in two months, Costa said. No specific alternatives are on the table, but the administration will present them to Bainum, Costa said.

City officials said the proposal to eliminate the 48 parking stalls came from community-based planning for the area and that it was a result of more than a year of planning and discussion.

"It's the community's vision ... to make the area safer for pedestrians, bikers and visitors," city Managing Director Ben Lee said. He said residents recommended putting in more landscaping and less parking "so Diamond Head Road does not become a parking lot."

The plan, which also includes installing underground utilities along Diamond Head Road, would eliminate the 48 makai stalls, set aside two 5-foot-wide bike lanes and widen an existing pedestrian path to 8 feet.

Costa said the 120 parking spaces on the mauka side won't be touched under the current plan. A surfer was on the task force that drew up the plan, and fliers about the plan had been put on cars in the Diamond Head parking stalls to invite more people into the process.

But at least some area surfers, including John Cater, said their voices were not heard.

"This is not trivial, like little surfer boys carrying out a protest," Cater said. "This is major malfeasance. It's lack of competency."

Surfer Neal Miyake began an online petition to the plan on his Web site.

About 100 people signed the petition, he said. He said his opposition is not so much to the plan but that "the implementation may not have gone through the proper channels."

Advertiser staff writer Robbie Dingeman contributed to this report.