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Hundreds of parking tickets issued in Ha‘ena amid increased enforcement efforts

HA‘ENA — Last year, the Kaua‘i Police Department handed out more parking tickets on the North Shore alone than they issued on the entire island the year prior.

This trend is largely due to an increased KPD focus on curbing illegal parking around Ha‘ena Beach Park, which included the hiring of a new parking enforcement officer.

“That effort started toward the beginning of last year,” said KPD Assistant Chief Kalani Ke. “Then we hired our parking enforcement worker, who’s assigned to do the highway enforcement out in Ha‘ena and all the other areas we do enforcement. That’s probably why we have a spike in parking violations.”

In 2022, there were 1,348 parking citations issued in the Hanalei area and 2,709 total, publicly available statistics show.

In 2021, police issued just 170 parking citations around Hanalei and only 1,240 in total.

Executive director of the community nonprofit Hanalei Initiative, Joel Guy estimated that at least 85 percent of tickets issued on the North Shore would be around the Ha‘ena Beach Park area, which has long been a hotbed of illegal parking.

Tourists, not allowed to enter the parking lot without a Hawai‘i ID or a prior reservation, will often opt to park alongside the state highway leading up to it.

“It’s a constant challenge,” Guy said of the parking situation in Ha‘ena. “When you restrict Ke‘e, you’re going to see impacts in other areas.”

The increased enforcement pays for itself, and more. Tickets are pricey, at $235 each, the result of a 2019 law introduced by state Rep. Nadine Nakamura (who represents the North Shore of Kaua‘i), which added a $200 surcharge to parking tickets issued along state highways like the one leading to Ha‘ena.

Half the revenue from the surcharge goes to the police department where the citation is issued for future enforcement efforts, while the other half goes to the state Highway Fund.

Assuming most of the tickets were handed out along the state highway, surcharge revenues from North Shore enforcement would have created more than $250,000 in revenue last year to be split between the Kaua‘i Police Department and the state Highway Fund.

Guy believes even the steep ticket price may not be enough to deter tourists from parking illegally.

“If you’re shuttling people out there for $35 a person for a family of five, they might just say, ‘Hey, I’ll just take the risk of getting a ticket,’” he said.

The parking enforcement was particularly ramped up in the summer months, with 293 tickets issued in June 2022 and 213 in July 2022.

The trends were also likely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which dramatically reduced the amount of illegal parking in 2021 as tourism was limited.

Yet, even accounting for the pandemic, the increase was huge. In 2019, before the public had ever heard of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were only 400 parking tickets issued on the North Shore.

While a person was far more likely to receive a parking ticket near Ha‘ena last year, they were less likely to receive other sorts of traffic violations.

Miscellaneous traffic violations fell from 9,205 in 2021 to 6,623 in 2022, with mobile device tickets falling from 540 to 314, and seat belt violations declining from 545 to 303. Moving violations fell from 3,687 to 3,032, and speeding violations dropped to 1,626 from 2,117.

The change in speeding violations was particularly notable in the Lihu‘e area, where 260 tickets were issued in 2022 compared with 735 in 2021.

“It’s not the result of any policy, that’s for certain,” said Dave Carmichael, KPD executive operations manager, on the drop in speeding tickets. “It sounds like a big number, but that’s really just about one less ticket a day.”


Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or
Source: The Garden Island

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