HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Pearl Highlands Center parking garage adjacent to the rail station was once part of the plan. Now, one month before the opening of the rail, residents are still asking where they can park.
“It’s going to be really difficult for citizens and residents to transition to rail without the parking and without the safety improvements,” said Charmaine Doran, Pearl City Neighborhood Board vice chair.
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation told KHON2.com that during preliminary plans, costs continued to soar for a parking structure near the Pearl Highlands Station, with each stall at $206,000.
According to HART, reasons for the deferral of the project included the location and the $330 million price tag.
The city said it’s still committed to finding an effective way to provide better access to the station. However, there’s no parking available at Leeward Community College.
The Department of Transportation Services said there are three park-and-ride sites providing more than 1,200 parking spots at the Keoneae, Hoopili and Stadium stations. Adjusted and new bus routes will also connect to all rail stations.
“It can be kiss-and-ride, it can be a private sector which is an option our board supported, it can be a flat parking lot, it can be anything,” said Doran.
According to the 2022 HART Recovery Plan, the deferral of the Pearl Highlands parking garage is estimated to reduce overall ridership by 1,500 boardings a day. Honolulu City Councilmember Matt Weyer introduced a resolution urging the city to find other parking options.
“They’re looking at how they can incorporate parking into a project, maybe including some type of housing on top to make it a little more affordable so it’s not $200,000 for a parking stall,” said Weyer.
Residents told KHON2, better parking options would have helped with their concerns about pedestrian safety. To get to the Pearl Highlands rail station, people will have to cross Kamehameha Highway.
The city said construction of a raised crosswalk and speed humps will be installed before June 30. DTS is also seeking federal funding for the planning, design and construction of an overhead pedestrian crossing.
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“We welcome all safety improvements that would help to get access, but right now we have none of that so we really need to speed it up,” said Doran.