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KOKUA LINE


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Electric cars may park without fees at public lots

By June Watanabe

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:48 a.m. HST, Jun 24, 2011



QUESTION: Regarding your May 12 column on electric cars (is.gd/kokualine05122010), why are electric cars refused free parking at the city's Blaisdell Center parking lot?

Act 290 requires free parking in any state or county parking facility. However, the Blaisdell's attendant charged us $5 to park when we attended the Home, Garden & Remodeling Show. We explained that we believed the law required electric vehicles to get free parking, but the attendant vehemently demanded the $5 fee. She said she'd had the "same problem" the day before with another electric vehicle owner and that her supervisor had "clarified" that the law does not apply to that parking lot. What is going on? Also, where exactly in the Hawaii Revised Statutes is the law that covers free parking for electric cars?

ANSWER: You should have been allowed to park for free, said Louise Kim McCoy, press secretary for Mayor Peter Carlisle. "The city is aware of Act 290, but because the parking lot at the Blaisdell Center is operated by a concession, there may have been some confusion, which has since been clarified," she said.

Owners of electric vehicles that have the proper electric vehicle license plate, who attended the Home, Garden & Remodeling Show and who can demonstrate they were charged for parking, will be reimbursed, Kim McCoy said.

Act 290 became Sections 291-71 and 291-72 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

That law says private lots will also have to provide spaces for electric vehicles, albeit not necessarily free parking: "All public, private, and government parking facilities that are available for use by the general public and have at least one hundred parking spaces shall designate one per cent of parking spaces exclusively for electric vehicles by December 31, 2011. … When the number of registered electric vehicles in the State reaches five thousand, the spaces designated for electric vehicles shall increase to two per cent of parking spaces. The number of spaces designated for electric vehicles shall continue to increase by one per cent for each additional five thousand electric vehicles registered in the State until the percentage reaches ten per cent of parking spaces."

Beginning Jan. 1, those parking a nonelectric vehicle in a space designated for electric vehicles will receive a warning. Beginning July 1, 2013, doing so will be deemed a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of $50 to $100.

QUESTION: Kaakepa Street, sometimes referred to as the Connector Road, connecting Kuahaka Street with Waimano Home Road in the Manana subdivision, seemingly has been completed for a couple of months. The street lights have been working every night, and a street name sign was put up recently. What's the delay?

ANSWER: It's just taken a little longer than the expected pre-June opening — is.gd/kokualine05132010 — but Kaakepa Street now is targeted to open on Wednesday.

"All major punch-list items have been taken care of," said Collins Lam, director of the city Department of Design and Construction.

MAHALO

To a man named Bob who drives a large black truck. On May 22 I drove around with my 3-year-old son looking for a service station to help me put air in my tires. None to be found! I pulled up to the Nuuanu Chevron and asked a kind man, Bob, whether it was OK to just fill it up because I didn't have a tire gauge. He offered his, but from the look on my face, he knew I had no idea what to do with it. He then patiently explained how to use the gauge and fill the tire. This small act of kindness (and patience) gave me a lifelong skill. Then Bob gave me the tire gauge! — Christina Higa


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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