Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill expanding the city’s sit-lie ordinance into downtown Honolulu and 14 other business districts throughout Oahu.
Caldwell signed the bill Tuesday morning at a ceremony in Chinatown.
Under the bill, people would be barred from sitting or lying down along public sidewalks from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily in specified boundaries in Chinatown, downtown Honolulu, McCully Moiliili, Kailua, Wahiawa, Ala Moana-Sheridan, Pawaa, two sections of Kaneohe, Waimanalo, Kapahulu, Waialae, Kahala, Aina Haina and Niu Valley and Hawaii Kai.
Caldwell said enforcement of the bill will be rolled out gradually,and start in areas like Chinatown and downtown Honolulu where the city has received the most complaints.
“We did sit-lie in Waikiki and it’s worked miracles,” the mayor said. “It’s changed the look and feel of Waikiki.”
Chinatown merchants and residents have been complaining that it’s become more and more difficult to navigate sidewalks in the oldest part of Honolulu, he said.
“This bill is about keeping our sidewalks open for people to do their business, for pedestrians to walk on, for businesses to get their deliveries made, to you use for the intent they were designed for,” Caldwell said. “Not to sit on, not to lie on, but to walk on.”
Bill 48 was approved 7-2 by the Honolulu City Council on Nov. 14.
A law that went into effect in September bans sitting and lying on public sidewalks in Waikiki 24 hours a day.
Sit-lie laws have been debated both here and on the mainland largely because, while implicitly designed to apply to everyone, most of those who lay and sit on sidewalks are considered homeless.
Supporters argue that the number of those camping on sidewalks in commercial neighborhoods have reached a point where pedestrians cannot travel safely, and are being discouraged from entering the storefronts of businesses. Opponents, however, say sit-lie ordinances make it criminal for people to be homeless while there is no evidence showing they improve customer traffic.
Even the bill’s original author, Councilman Ron Menor, raised grave concerns about the measure’s constitutionality as more and more new areas were included in the bill as it advanced through the Council.
To see the final language of the bill and the maps showing the specific locations, go to http://bit.ly/Bill48FD1.