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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, August 22, 2004

Park users not scoring points with residents

By Suzanne Roig
Advertiser East Honolulu Writer

Wai'alae Iki — Wai'alae Iki Neighborhood Park near Karen Narimatsu's house is constantly in use, with kids playing soccer and baseball and running around on the playground.

Some Wai'alae Iki residents want to take their streets back from parents of park users who park bumper to bumper on Analii Street, or who arrive in a seemingly endless stream of vehicles at pickup time.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Meanwhile, many of the cars that brought those children — nearly 20 in all on one recent day — line Analii Street, parked bumper to bumper while parents sit on blankets, in their cars and at picnic tables as their children play.

At pickup time, dozens more cars come, and the congestion worsens. Sometimes the cars stack up two deep, even on the side of the street that is marked "no parking."

The worst of it lasts only about 15 minutes, but it's a lingering problem every day from about 4 to 7 p.m., and it's enough to rile residents who feel like they're hostages to sports leagues that use the park in their neighborhood for practices and games.

The scene is played out in neighborhood upon neighborhood around O'ahu, with sports leagues taking up all the available street parking, making a lot of noise, double-parking their cars, leaving piles of rubbish behind and forgetting they are guests in someone else's neighborhood, residents say.

"The parents are inconsiderate," Narimatsu said. "We've been dealing with it for years,"

That's the price of living near a popular park, the city says.

"This problem is not unique to Wai'alae Iki," said Carol Costa, city spokeswoman. "It's in Mililani, Waikele. It's in every popular park with limited parking."

Officials from soccer leagues, one of the biggest users of the park, said they try to be considerate of residents and have made some changes in response to residents' complaints. But they're not always successful in getting their message of consideration across to all their parents, they acknowledged.

At a glance

Soccer coaches and residents offer these tips for parking and visiting parks in another community.


• Follow all traffic laws.

• If your parked car blocks a resident's trash can, either offer to move the car or move the can and then move the trash can back after the rubbish has been emptied.

• Be aware of your noise level, particularly during early morning games.

• Leave the field in better condition than when you arrived by picking up trash, even if it doesn't belong to you.

• Volunteer to help maintain the park, so that neighbors and others can enjoy the park in good condition.

• Treat residents around the park with respect, as you would want to be treated.

• Park smart; don't waste space.

• Drive up and pick up your child quickly.


• Double park.

• Honk your horn to get your child's attention.

• Park in people's driveways, even if it's for a second.

• Leave your trash behind or use residents' trash cans, or water hoses to fill up water containers.

Because of its location, Wai'alae Iki Neighborhood Park is popular. It's right off of Kalaniana'ole Highway, not quite in Hawai'i Kai, not quite in town. It's a large, level playing field where several practices can be held at one time.

The park was always a magnet for American Youth Soccer Organization teams, but about 10 years ago the Hawaii Youth Soccer Association and adult leagues also started using the field, and the situation worsened, Narimatsu said.

For a year nearby residents have been asking for relief, but have gotten none, said Narimatsu, who has lived on the block for 32 years and is considered the voice of Analii Street.

Residents have tried calling police, and on occasion cars have been towed because they parked too close to the corner or have been left parked on the mauka side of the street where "no parking signs" are posted.

But the problem has become chronic, said Narimatsu. She first presented her complaint to the Kuli'ou'ou Kalani Iki Neighborhood Board last year. Month after month, she told community members how parents park illegally and honk their horns and how the lack of parking even prevented her from holding graduation parties for two of her children.

Almost daily from 4 to 7 p.m. Narimatsu and other residents limit their socializing because they can only invite as many people as their driveways will hold, or else ask their guests to park a block away and walk.

The board wrote a letter urging the city parks department to reduce the number of permits issued to use the park.

The city responded that it is required "by law to ensure maximum use of public areas and facilities," according to a letter from William Balfour, city department of Parks and Recreation director.

The parks department issues permits to leagues and groups that want to use the fields, but it's not limited by the number of parking stalls, Costa said. At the Wai'alae Iki park there are 36 parking spaces.

The solution is consideration, soccer league organizers say.

"The bottom line is everyone should be considerate of the community because everyone is a member of the community," said Richard Yanagi, American Youth Soccer Organization regional commissioner for Diamond Head Region 48.

In response to the community criticism, the Bulls Soccer Club decided this month to begin walking players to the Koko Head end of the park, where the parking lot is, to encourage parents to pick up their children there, rather than double parking on the street.

And players 12 to 14 now practice at Kapi'olani Park, said Ken Perske, president of the Bulls Soccer Club.

The AYSO league also tries to be considerate, Yanagi said. When residents surrounding a soccer field in Niu Valley complained about park users' cars blocking trash cans out for morning pickups, a compromise was worked out. Residents would put their trash cans in the driveways and sports parents cooperated by not parking too close to the driveways.

"It's important to keep reminding people about being considerate of others, whether it has to do with parking or littering or anything else," Yanagi said.

For the Bulls, the issue is keeping parents from double-parking on Analii Street, Perske said. The league tries to keep peace with the neighborhood. At Christmas time, holiday cards are sent to area residents. At the start of the season the coaches remind parents not to double park and to be respectful of the community.

"We respect the fact that we can use the field," he said. "We recognize there's a problem and we're trying to deal with it."

April Tolman said she tries to be considerate of residents and understands how they feel.

Seated in her van on Analii Street, with her baby asleep in the car seat beside her, Tolman watched her 5-year-old son perform soccer drills in the nearly 10-acre park. Parked cars lined the street, leaving not a single available parking space.

"If it's like this every day, I can see why the residents would be upset," Tolman said.

Narimatsu said she still feels frustrated by what happens every week in her neighborhood and believes more needs to be done to address the problem.

"All my suggestions were discounted," Narimatsu said. "I'm no better off than a year ago after I started going to all these meetings."

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