Kokua Line: Disability parking placard overrides no-drop-offs rule
Question: When the Hanauma Bay parking lot is full, is it still possible to just do a drop-off with a handicap placard?
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Question: When the Hanauma Bay parking lot is full, is it still possible to just do a drop-off with a handicap placard? I wanted to drop off an impaired family member who was unable to walk from the highway to the visitor center. I know the lot might be full, but is there any way to inform the lot attendants I wish to use a handicap drop-off or see whether there are any handicap stalls that are vacant?
Answer: Yes. “It is the normal practice for the security guards at the entrance to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to allow vehicles with valid disability placards to enter the visitor parking lot even when it is closed due to full capacity. We apologize if these visitors were erroneously denied this privilege. We will be reminding those guards of the … policy for compliance,” said Nathan Serota, spokesman for the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
We’ve heard from a couple of readers who said they were turned away even though they were carrying a passenger with a valid disability parking placard. One caller said they never made it past Kalanianaole Highway, where a sign was posted, while another said he was waved off at the parking lot’s toll booth.
In those cases the drivers had intended to drop off their disabled passengers — stopping for several minutes to help the person get out of the car and situate safely on the sidewalk — and then exit the parking lot. The drivers intended to park along Kalanianaole Highway and walk back to the park’s entrance. It’s a long trek but not unheard of at the popular East Oahu snorkeling spot.
The marine preserve’s website (808ne.ws/hanbay) encourages visitors “to get to the bay early. The parking lot often fills early and you will be turned away if it is full. By getting an extra early start you will avoid long lines at the ticket booth and snorkel concession.”
During the winter season, Hanauma Bay is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Christmas, New Year’s Day and every Tuesday.
Schedule changes are possible due to weather and other factors. For the latest information, call 396-4229 for recorded information or 395-2211 to speak to someone in person.
The recorded message warns that guards close the parking lot when it is full, that no drop-offs are allowed and that motorists should neither try to enter the lot nor talk to guards when it is full. However, as Serota said, that admonition should not apply to drivers trying to drop off disabled passengers who have a valid disability license plate or parking placard.
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