New proposal would allow reserved street parking for car sharing companies

Local News

The City Council is considering a proposal that would reserve on-street parking stalls for car-sharing vehicles only. That could mean designating dozens of the metered parking island wide.

Car-sharing programs are designed for people who want to rent a car for a short period of time. One of its goals is to decrease the number of cars on roads. 

The proposal would increase the maximum number of reserved stalls in city-controlled facilities from 50 to 80. On top of that, designate up to 80 on-street parking stalls.

“It gives flexibility to now having more car share opportunities and stalls on city streets,” said Councilman Brandon Elefante, who introduced Bill 19

Elefante says if it passes he wants the city to look at underutilized stalls. It may also mean designating on-street metered parking stalls. 

“I’m very sensitive of taking away precious parking stalls that we have in our city, at the same time, there are also areas we can find and this would be island wide as well,” he said. 

The measure would require no more than 2 reserved car-sharing on-street parking stalls per block. In earlier testimony, Hui Car Share says it preferred newly created un-metered parking stalls so not to impact the public’s need for street parking. 

The Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation Services Jon Nouchi tells us in a statement,

“This is a Council-introduced bill which the administration supports.

Regarding car share, when an operator desires to reserve any City parking stall, DTS anticipates that reservation will be enforced 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.  Therefore, DTS will exercise caution to prevent usage of any parking space which is affected by time of day restrictions, tow-away periods, or along established special event routes such as parades or foot races.  Payment of the rates indicated in the Ordinance would obviate the need for car share operators to feed the meters if present.  DTS will carefully approve permitted locations, taking into account neighborhood use, density, and usefulness not to exceed the limits set in SECTION 5 of the Bill.

This Bill and Administrative Rules it requires allows for island-wide deployment, not just restricted to Urban Core.  Each parking space requested for car share use will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

“It’s not that we have too much excess parking space, I think most residents would say we don’t have enough parking space,” said Shar Chun-Lum, who submitted testimony against the proposal. 

Chun-Lum tells us it takes away parking spaces and gives them to companies at a bargain. 

“The rate that they are giving the car sharing people is really low,” she said. 

Elefante says the annual rental rate is about 25-percent of the maximum amount you would pay for a metered stall. The amount varies based on the location.

For example in Waikiki, the annual rental rate for car-sharing companies using an on-street metered parking stall would be $4,380.  

“This would be potentially a new way for the city to also gain revenue and at the same time a win-win in that it would provide an opportunity for the public if they want to use a car,” said Elefante. 

“Why are we catering so much to a car sharing business versus the citizens who have to find parking or they would get a ticket?” asks Chun-Lum. 

Those against the proposal have also stated this is similar to what Bikeshare Hawaii did by taking metered stalls for Biki stations. Bikehsare Hawaii tells us it does not pay for on-street stalls, even on private property. It is a nonprofit group with a partnership with the city. It’s currently borrowing 40 metered parking stalls.

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