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Kokua Line

No new Diamond Head parking planned due to strain on park

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QUESTION: I recently visited Diamond Head with my elderly father, who just wanted to see the crater from the inside. We had to wait nearly 20 minutes to park inside the crater. Many people were turned away. Based on the number of people I saw walking in, I assume most parked at Kapiolani Community College. Why can’t the state create an overflow lot to allow more people to park inside the crater? There appears to be plenty of land available.

ANSWER: There are no plans to add additional parking spaces within the crater, said Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

One reason is that DLNR’s state Parks Division doesn’t want more people there.

When the existing lot is full, combined with the number of visitors who come via trolley, cab or walk in, the summit trail is at or near its capacity, Ward said. Significantly more visitors on the narrow trail "could affect the quality of the experience," she said.

The Parks Division currently is working to mitigate the erosion caused by visitors who hike the trail daily.

Around this time of the year, the parking lot is full during the peak hours of 9 a.m. to noon. Midmorning is the busiest time, with about 70 percent of the day’s visitors showing up, depending on the season, Ward said.

At other times (the park is open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), "there is plenty of available parking for visitors," she said.

Another reason more parking won’t be added is that the Parks Division has limited space within the crater, sharing it with the Hawaii Army National Guard and state Civil Defense.

The only public access areas are the road leading to the park, the crater floor adjacent to the parking area and the summit trail. Other areas within the crater and some exterior areas, including a Board of Water Supply reservoir, are closed to the public.

Ward said parks officials do not encourage parking at Kapiolani Community College, which needs its parking for students.

Q: Are there plans to open the Kapahulu tunnel in Diamond Head to the public so that traffic entering the crater would be one-way only? That would alleviate some of the safety concerns of people walking into the crater.

A: The 2003 update of the Diamond Head State Monument Master Plan (click on "Plans and Reports," items 4 and 5, at www.hawaiistateparks.org) calls for the Kapahulu tunnel eventually to be part of a one-way traffic flow into and out of the crater. That plan also envisions no private vehicles inside the crater, with a people-mover system instead.

But that’s not likely to happen any time soon. The Kapahulu tunnel and other areas of Diamond Head are under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Army National Guard and state Civil Defense. The master plan can’t be implemented at least until both agencies relocate elsewhere.

Q: A house is being built in my residential neighborhood. Are there limitations as to the hours of construction during the day, and is construction permitted on Sundays?

A: Construction in residential neighborhoods generally is supposed to be confined to weekdays between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.

Call the state Department of Health’s Indoor and Radiological Health Branch, which regulates construction noise, at 586-4700 regarding possible violations.

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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