LIHU‘E — The county is looking to impose a $10 parking fee for visitors at certain county beach parks.
Back in July 2021, the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation embarked on a parking study funded by a portion of its American Rescue Plan Act allocation.
The study focused on parking habits at Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei, Lydgate Park in Wailua and Po‘ipu Beach Park.
The study, conducted on three days between July 20 and 25, counted cars three times per day, at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The study found that on average, Black Pot saw about 239 cars per day, Lydgate around 247 cars per day and Po‘ipu to have 691 cars per day.
But the study may not be an accurate representation of the island’s use of beach parks.
“DOPR staff believes that a few factors may have caused the counts to be lower than normal for that time of year,” the study states, pointing to bad weather, the pandemic and the Hanalei landslide that restricted traffic in and out of the North Shore.
However, the study still found that overuse of the parks is doing damage.
“The results … indicate continuous high usage of these valuable resources, which leads to harming of the park, depletion of resources and safety concerns for the community,” the study states.
“Without an organized parking area with consistent enforcement of safety rules, the number of park users exceeds the facility capacity. If all the parking stalls are taken, users park their vehicles in the road right of way and sometimes in the park grounds.”
The study indicates that a high number of users puts a strain on bathroom and pavilion facilities, too.
“Further, the repairs of damage to the natural landscape from illegal parking depletes resources,” the study continued.
The $10 price point is in line with rates at state parks, including Ha‘ena State Park and Waimea Canyon State Park, and would not be applicable to Kaua‘i residents.
The Kaua‘i County Council, which meets Wednesday, will have both a resolution and Draft Bill No. 2943 in front of them to decide if the county will impose these fees.
This is all made possible through Ordinance 1087, formerly Bill No. 2805, which passed through the council in December 2020. The ordinance stipulates that any fees derived from parking fees would be added to the Special Trust Fund for Parks and Playgrounds and stay in the “respective district in which such fees were generated.”
Violations of any parking ordinance would come with a $100 first-offense fine. Upwards of two offenses would result in a fine of up to $500.
The council will take up the issue on Wednesday at its 8:30 a.m. meeting available to watch at kauai.gov/webcastmeetings.
Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island