HCDA looks for ways to reduce cars in Kakaako, with or without rail

Local News

The parking crunch in Kakaako could be getting a lot worse.

There’s a plan in the works to create a lot of new housing, but it may not come with a lot of parking stalls.

The plan by the Hawaii Community Development Authority is built heavily around the rail project. It wants to build condos and businesses in Kakaako around the rail line.

But with the future of the rail route now being questioned, should HCDA’s plan move forward?

HART has said there’s no changing the rail route, but concerns about possibly losing $1.5 billion in federal funding have led to talks about how to save money.

One proposal would be to stop the line at Middle Street instead of Ala Moana Center.

“If rail doesn’t come through, we’ll work with the city and maybe it’s a bus line, so they can use a bus line more effectively in and out of the area,” said Aedward Los Banos, HCDA interim executive director.

Regardless of what happens with rail, HCDA says it still wants to turn Kakaako into a less car-dependent area “and more pedestrian-centric, to make the pedestrian experience on the road much more positive experience,” Los Banos said. “If people are using the rail, not using the car so much because from Kakaako to downtown, they can jump on the rail. They can go downtown. Maybe you don’t need that many cars anymore.”

With no cars, there would be no need for parking stalls.

It’s up to the developers, not HCDA, to determine how many parking stalls to add. But, HCDA says, if the developers chose to provide fewer stalls for their condo buildings, homebuyers will benefit.

“The purchase price so for a building parking space cost about $40,000-$50,000 to build just the space, the structure, and everything like that, so that gets bundled into your home price,” Los Banos said.

HCDA is also looking at some other options, like car sharing.

“Maybe you need it for a few hours a day, and we’re talking about a bank of cars where you can book, reserve, rent for a few hours rather than owning a car,” Los Banos said.

HCDA plans to hold more public meetings with people who live and work in the area to talk about its development plans, and have some of the concepts underway by early next year.

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