Pedestrian and Parking Awareness

What can one buy for $130?

With the State of Hawaii's climbing need for money to support its endless projects to keep paradise in check, and in addition to keeping our tourists touring and our taxpayers paying, it is only law enforcement's duty to issue citations. In recent times, however, the public complains of tickets being issued for what seem to be the least severe of offenses.

Traffic and parking is not a cakewalk here in Downtown-Chinatown. All too often do people come back to their cars only to see a gut-wrenching yellow slip of paper tucked under a windshield wiper. Or one may be so unfortunate as to be pulled over and cited for a rolling stop, and in the case of Hotel Street, for driving at all.

Hotel Street. Only HPD, buses, emergency vehicles, and bicycles are allowed. Previously closed off for First Friday and block party events for pedestrians. Not the case anymore. (Photo: Grace Cruz)

Hotel Street. Only HPD, buses, emergency vehicles, and bicycles are allowed. Previously closed off for First Friday and block party events for pedestrians. Not the case anymore. (Photo: Grace Cruz)

The vague and sporadic signage that indicate when-and-when-not-to-park are not exactly the easiest puzzles to decipher either. And people in the morning rush to get to work will begrudgingly pay a hefty $12+ fee for a spot in a parking garage, just to escape the unforgiving watch of the meter maid.

In addition to this copious enforcement of parking rules, jaywalking seems to have broadened as a term, with offenses such as merely walking outside the designated crosswalk lines or standing in the road as cause for citationThis has only been exacerbated with First Friday's Hotel Street road closure no longer in affect, leaving patrons, residents, and Chinatown workers hit with the $130 fine(though comparatively, this is not as horrific as the $250 jaywalking stubs one might be given in Los Angeles and New York City).

Naturally, these crackdowns exist to benefit the people. In 2014, Dangerous by Design, a report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition highlighted that between 2003-2012, a national epidemic of pedestrian deaths reached over 47,000 fatalities. In more than 60% of the cases, speed was a factor. The reason for such a number is that many roads were not designed for anything besides high-speed traffic. The NCSC says that pedestrian deaths are preventable through better policy, design, practice, and regulation. And with America's oldest Chinatown (ours!) home to a dense population of 5,350 per square mile, regulate they do.

Here is a guide for some parking tips and a few violations commonly cited.

 - Parking in the same metered stall in Downtown-Chinatown is good for one hour.  Because of a time sensor, the car has to be moved before more money can be added.
 - Downtown-Chinatown has three municipal parking lots (I think correct, I can't thnk of more than three...), offering the best parking rates.  Most are $3 after 5 p.m. on the weekdays. All day on weekends is just $3 as well.  The catch is that you need to retrieve your car before midnight or will be locked in overnight.
 - Another great parking resource is a mobile app called BestParking which tells you where and how much parking will cost depending on arrival and how long you stay parked.
 - The best place to catch a cab (or Lyft or Uber) downtown is anywhere alone Merchant Street.
Parking in most yellow painted loading zone areas is free after 4 p.m.  Check the signs for restrictions as the rules vary from street to street.
 - Meter parking is free after 5:30 p.m., on Sundays, and state holidays.
 - Regular cars are not allowed on Hotel Street at anytime.  Only buses, emergency vehicles and bicycles are allowed.  One would be cited for a moving violation if caught.

- Pedestrians may step into a marked crosswalk ONLY when the white walking man is showing on the traffic light.  If the red hand is blinking, you may not enter the crosswalk as it will be considered a jaywalking offense. 

- It is illegal to cross or stand in the street outside of a marked crosswalk and is also considered a jaywalking offense.

- Jaywalking tickets are $130.
 - 52 bus rides
 - 8 lunches (at $15 ea)
 - 13 matinee movies
 - Over 100 candy bars
 - A hot date

- Plenty of new slippers


Grace Cruz