A new proposal in the city council would limit the number of parades and activities that require street closures, and add requirements to the events held.
Council member Michael Formby who introduced the bill says many members of the Waikiki community have reached out to him on the issue.
“Anytime you shut down Kalakaua avenue you impact the traffic. You impact the operations of all the businesses along Kalakaua. You impact the residents. I mean it across the board impacts people and their quality of life,” said Formby, who represents Waikiki.
His new proposal would require that only events that benefit the community as a whole are allowed. It would also require events to show proof of this after the event has taken place.
Another part of the proposal would reduce the number of permits for parades and events held that would shut down streets in Waikiki from 15 to 12 and lower the amount of event waivers the Mayor can use. This doesn’t include or affect the number of legacy events like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, that are held yearly or first amendment events.
As for 2019, the City and County of Honolulu says there are 13 permitted events this year.
“We’re really just trying to find that balance – strike that balance between events that close down a major thoroughfare in Waikiki and activities and parades that benefit the community as a whole,” said Formby.
One community member says it’s about time for the change.
“To close a public street, that’s a privilege, its not a right, not a right to be used for economic purposes, its to be used for that public benefit,” said Rick Egged, Waikiki Improvement Association President.
He believes events that celebrate Hawaii’s culture and traditions should have priority.
“These events are allowed for a particular reason that they are the way the community can come together for important cultural activities, important times during the year, holidays and things we want to commemorate,” said Egged.
The bill has passed first reading at the City Council and will be heard at Tuesday’s Committee on Transportation.