Sixty-seven Makaha residents have signed a petition to protest the recent mass issuance of citations for parking their cars in front of or near their private garages. Other neighbors are grateful for the police intervention.
"I got a ticket because I was parking in front of my driveway to unload, went into the house to use the bathroom, came back out and there was a ticket to my surprise," said Bill Mousser, a community member.
Similarly, another neighbor said that her son, who is a carpenter, was unloading tools while parked on the street in front of her house when he got a $35 ticket. When he told the police that he was just unloading, they said he had to pay the ticket anyway.
"It has been frustrating as a community to have to park a quarter mile away and walk to my home. What about unloading groceries or any other items? If we are left with caring for the immediate area outside of our homes, then why can’t we park there?" added Mousser.
Hawaii parking and street laws include the prohibition of undocumented vehicles on the streets and any vehicle to be parked within four feet of a driveway, even if it's your own driveway.
“The problem has been building for so long and the improvement is greatly appreciated,” said a Manuku Street resident. “The problem goes further than just parking too close to the curb line. There are also cars parked on sidewalks, people putting up 'No Parking' signs in front of the homes, storage of vehicles on the street, and the list goes on. We look forward to the continued enforcement of this situation in the months ahead.”
The Honolulu Police Department said that they were simply responding to numerous neighborhood complaints and enforcing the law. “The enforcement of parking violations is generally discretionary on the part of our officers,” explained HPD Major Michael Moses. “We do realize that parking in many of these communities is scarce. However, when others within the community insist on police action, and there are obvious violations observed, we are obligated to act. Unfortunately, this parking issue has polarized the residents on these streets.”
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro (District 45 – Waianae, Makaha, Makua) is considering drafting legislation to reduce the laws requiring distance of parking near a driveway from four feet to one foot or less.
"The problem with the law is that it makes parking nearly impossible in neighborhoods where houses are close together, such as in Makaha, and in places like Honolulu where parking is always hard to find," Shimabukuro said. "I would bet that most of us do this all the time. Many drivers squeeze into available spaces near driveways leaving just enough space for a car to exit and enter."
Given certain circumstances, many Hawaii residents also park in front of their own driveways. "Some residents park there because they have more cars than their garage can hold, or they're holding a large get-together, unloading, or washing their cars," Shimabukuro said.
"I definitely support HPD enforcing the laws and citing obvious violations like derelict cars, parking on sidewalks, and illegal 'No Parking' signs.” Shimabukuro explained. “I also understand that the driveway laws are in place to permit emergency and police vehicles to enter homes in times of emergency. However, I hope we can find a compromise so that people are not unnecessarily inconvenienced," Shimabukuro said.
Shimabukuro has recently asked the Waianae Neighborhood Board to place this issue on their Transportation Committee agenda to give the community a forum to debate this issue. “One thing the community could consider is whether we should ask for an exception to the driveway laws in neighborhoods such as the Manuku and Nukea Street area where parking is extremely limited,” Shimabukuro stated.
“We need to work together to make the community a better place to live for all involved; no one should be left out,” Mousser urged. “We need to talk to each other and find resolutions.”