People have been parking on a side street in Kalihi for a number of years. Now the state will be charging them for it.

We looked into it after a viewer reached out to Action Line. The street in question is a portion of Kanakanui Street that’s adjacent to Puuhale Elementary School. Beginning July 1st, drivers need to pay for a parking permit that costs $16 a day.

Some say that’s a steep price for street parking. Parking in Kalihi is scarce. Drivers always find themselves competing for prime street parking.

“We come here at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, some of our people, just to get parking,” said Keith Kaneshiro, who works at Air Masters Inc.

Kaneshiro tells us he’s one of many who park along Kanakanui Street that fronts Puuhale Elementary School. We learned the school will now start charging for parking next month. The state tells us it has jurisdiction to do so.

Kaneshiro remembers the school tried to implement something like this last year with a fee of up to $25 a month. However this year, drivers will have to apply for a permit that costs $16 a day.

“We got this notice saying that they want to up the price to $300 a month. We really can’t afford it,” said Kaneshiro. “We just want to know what they’re planning to do with the money.”

In a statement the Department of Education tells us:

“The school has worked with the Honolulu Fire Department, Honolulu Police Department and Governor Ige’s Homeless Coordinator to address concerns about this area including the homeless encampment and illegally parked cars. The street also serves as a fire lane which means that parking is only allowed on one side. The school is implementing a fee for cars to park there as a solution to these issues as well as to help offset the cost of maintaining this area. The school gave a courtesy heads up to individuals that park in this area through signage on the school fence and flyers. The parking charge will begin on July 1, 2019, and those who are interested can apply for permits through the school.”

For the Chapter 39 Fee Schedule Worksheet, click here.

There will also be less parking as the state plans to ramp up enforcement. The state says Kanakanui Street is also a fire lane and needs adequate space for access. That means cars are no longer allowed to park on the makai side of the street.

“I guess come a little earlier, maybe we have to come 3 o’clock or something,” said Kaneshiro as he ponders the future.

The DOE says it is trying to work its neighbors and encourages people to ask the school if they have any questions about the new fee.