Kaimuki businesses concerned about 8-month parking lot project

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Kaimuki business owners are concerned about a parking lot project that will take eight months to complete.

The city said the Kaimuki Municipal metered parking lot will undergo repairs starting March 16, for parking lot improvements and pavement replacement.

The parking lot is bounded by the Koko Head, Waialae, Harding, and 12th Avenues.

Businesses said it’s already hard to find parking in the area and fear the temporary work will hurt the surrounding small businesses.

“I mean really? Why does it have to take eight months?” said Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery owner Gayla Young. “We’re talking about one parking lot here, I don’t understand why it has to take so long.”

Business owners said the same parking lot was fully closed two years ago for a little over one month and their businesses were impacted by that closure.

“They repaved it, it was beautiful and I don’t know why they need to do it again, but that was not great for my business,” said Liz Schwartz, owner of Coffee Talk. “I was down 40-percent then so and that wasn’t close to eight months so it’s a little worrisome.”

This time, the city said it will keep some stalls open to the public and the project will go through three phases (each phase is expected to take 11 weeks).

The city said 72 stalls will be open during the first phase, 79 will be open to the public for the second phase and 63 will be available during the final phase.

The city does note that the numbers can change depending on field conditions.

But nearby workers say most of the available stalls will be taken by construction crews.

“They would come in before actual viable customers are walking in the streets, find a stall, feed the meter all day long,” explained Young on another construction project nearby. “So there goes the limited amount of stalls we had here are now being consumed by construction workers.”

The city said the project is “full depth reconstruction of pavement, new curb ramps, signage, lighting, and landscaping,” and the adjacent Kaimuki Municipal Gated Parking Lot will remain open. 

“It’s concerning and excessive,” said Tina Yamaki, Retail Merchants of Hawaii president. “I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the parking lot but anytime you close down even for a day it’s an inconvenience for your customers and you’re going to lose a sale which means the business is going to have a harder time paying their employees, paying rent, paying health care and other costs of doing business here in Hawaii.”

The work will start on Monday, March 16, 2020.

The contractor for the project is Road Builders Corporation.

The city said the working hours will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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