comscore Aging parking meters being swapped for shorter models | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Kokua Line

Aging parking meters being swapped for shorter models

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Question: Why at all or particularly at a time of austere budgets is the city spending money to lower parking meters? It looks like an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance thing. It’s happening on the east side of Thomas Square and along South King Street fronting KITV. It may be a reasonable accommodation for a handicapped driver, but it would be inconvenient for everyone else.

Answer: The city has been replacing old or damaged parking meter posts, currently 39 inches high, with 30-inch posts to conform to proposed new federal accessibility guidelines.

In other words, to make them accessible to wheelchair users. That’s even though state law allows anyone with a disabled parking placard/license plate to park for free for at least two and a half hours in a metered stall.

The state Disability and Communications Access Board was not aware of the city’s action when we inquired about it, noting that the current meter height complies with ADA accessibility guidelines.

However, Francine Wai, executive director of the access board, said she’s since learned that proposed new guidelines for public rights of way include requirements that the slots and "viewers" showing time on parking meters be about eye level for people in wheelchairs.

With current posts 39 inches in height, the slots for putting in coins are 48 inches high and viewers, 51 inches. Under proposed guidelines, which Wai said eventually will become law, the slot would be 40 inches high and the viewer 42 inches.

She commended the city for "being proactive, because in the future, they will have to lower new meters anyway."

New, missing or damaged meter posts are being replaced with poles at the lower height, while existing posts will be modified over time as poles are replaced, said city administration spokeswoman Louise Kim-McCoy.

The cost is part of the maintenance budget, she said.

The state Legislature passed a law allowing free metered parking for the disabled years ago because meters were not accessible to many people, Wai said. "In the future, if all the meters are accessible, then maybe our law would be changed so that it is not free."

But for now, that law has no effect on federal guidelines and vice versa.

For the city’s part, the goal is to have parking meters accessible to everyone, Kim-McCoy said.

"Not everyone who may need an accessible meter has an ADA parking placard," she said. "Therefore, those without parking placards, for whatever reason, would need to pay the meter and would benefit from the accessible meter."

Question: Some time ago, you ran a phone number to call for vehicles that were abandoned or left on the street for extended periods. Could you reprint it?

Answer: You can report abandoned or derelict vehicles to the city online at www3.honolulu.gov/csdavcomplaints/ or by calling 733-2520 during regular business hours or the 24-hour information line, 532-7700 — press 250 during greeting.

 

CONTRACTING CONCERNS?

In response to the Nov. 2 Kokua Line regarding posting permits at construction sites: the Pacific Resource Partnership says the public can call its office at 528-5557 about any "unpermitted, unlicensed, hazardous, or illegal contracting activity."

According to its website, the organization "serves as the critical link between Hawaii’s top contractors and the largest construction union in the state, the 7,600-member Hawaii Carpenters Union."

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 e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

 

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