Question: While we were on our regular morning walk in Mililani, we and others watched as a policeman with a clipboard stopped a man across the street. Someone said he was being cited for walking on the road as many walkers do to maintain distance from other walkers due to the COVID-19 delta virus. As we continued on our way we warned many other walkers who were doing the same thing. They were probably overcautious since most sidewalk areas allow 6 feet of distance and there is a real risk of being hit by a car if you are on the road. Still, if police are going to be targeting walkers for this, it would be good to let everyone know. Many times we wished the police were around to ticket all the speeding cars zipping by.
Answer: We asked the Honolulu Police Department for details and received the following response from spokeswoman Michelle Yu: “On Monday and Tuesday between 5 and 7 a.m., officers from the District 2 Community Policing Team gave out approximately 30 warnings to joggers and walkers who were in the roadway at Meheula Parkway and Lanikuhana Avenue. This was in response to a resident’s concern that a pedestrian could be struck by a vehicle. Officers spoke with the individuals and handed out information on Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 291C-76, which states that where there are sidewalks, it is unlawful to walk on the adjacent roadway, bicycle path, or bicycle lane. No citations were issued.”
Q: Is DPR or any other county department/agency keeping track of how many Oahu residents are visiting Hanauma Bay, versus people who don’t live on Oahu? If yes, what is the breakdown between residents and nonresidents, since the online reservation system went into effect?
A: Yes, Honolulu County’s Department of Parks and Recreation does track how many Hawaii residents visit the marine preserve, although not specifically Oahu residents, said Nate Serota, a department spokesman.
The vast majority of people visiting the popular East Oahu snorkeling spot are from out of state, although the percentage of Hawaii residents has increased since an online reservation system took effect on April 26. You wouldn’t know that from the complaints Kokua Line receives on this subject, with many Oahu residents feeling locked out and insisting that tourists or tour operators must have some advantage snagging the coveted spots.
On Tuesday, DPR announced a two-week pilot program that will allow Hawaii residents to enter Hanauma Bay without a reservation (808ne.ws/727sty); they will need to show a Hawaii photo ID. The bay will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the pilot, as usual. Out-of-state residents may visit during the pilot program, which is scheduled to end Aug. 8, but they must make a reservation, at pros4.hnl.info/hanauma-bay.
The department will analyze park usage during the pilot program to adjust entry requirements as needed.
Serota provided a snapshot of park usage comparing May 2019 with May 2021 (Hanauma Bay was closed in May 2020 due to the pandemic):
>> May 2019: There were 64,459 visitors (an average of 2,479 per day), of whom 80% were nonresident adults, 10% were nonresident children (12 and under); 5% were resident adults; 4% were active-duty military and less than 1% were local keiki (12 and under).
>> May 2021: There were 19,869 visitors (an average of 903 per day), of whom 75% were nonresident adults, 10% were nonresident children (12 and under), 8% were resident adults, 4% were active-duty military and 2% were local keiki.
May 2021 marked the first full month of the online reservation system; 25% of the slots were left open for walk-ins and drive-ins, Serota said.
The daily average for each month is the total number of visitors divided by the number of days the bay was open that month.
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 email@example.com.