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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, October 28, 2002

'Aina Haina School parents petition for more parking

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer

'AINA HAINA — The grassy knoll fronting 'Aina Haina School puts distance between the school and busy West Hind Drive, but parents want to use the area for a parking lot so that they, teachers and visitors don't have to hunt for parking on side streets more than two blocks away.

The elementary school has 58 teachers and staffers who compete for 66 spots with senior citizens who come three times a week for classes, preschoolers whose parents walk their children to the classroom and other teachers who come for workshops at the school, the parents say.

More than 200 people have signed a petition that seeks a new parking lot to add 65 spaces.

But the cost — as much as $500,000 — is beyond the Parent Teacher Association's means, and parents say since the school also shares its parking area with the adjacent community park, they hope the city or state will pay to install the new lot.

"The teachers park wherever they can find a place, and at times parents are trying to find a parking space, too," said Leslie Pang, a parent at 'Aina Haina School and a member of the PTA who is circulating the petition. "We have a lot of parent involvement here at the school."

Parking is illegal on West Hind Drive, which fronts the school, but has been informally allowed on the lawn. But at times, the lawn has been worn down, creating dust from overuse, Pang said. That upsets homeowners across the school who complain of the blowing dirt.

The idea is to get the city or state interested in building a parking lot that would accommodate an additional 65 cars so that teachers, parents and daytime park users could use the lot during the day. Soccer and baseball parents could use the stalls in the evenings.

City parks often share parking lots with schools.

"Usually it works very well," said Carol Costa, city spokeswoman. "In this case, there are a lot of recreation needs ... We don't support parking on the grass and we do try to monitor it."

After the November election, the parents plan to take up the issue with their new City Council representative.

Reach Suzanne Roig at 395-8831 or sroig@honoluluadvertiser.com.