The Ala Wai Boat Harbor area is the last free parking in Waikīkī. However, recent actions by the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation indicated plans to develop the harbor, which may lead to losing the last remaining 300 parking stalls. The local community has been opposing privatization of the harbor and a reduction of the free parking numerous times over the last two decades through grassroots movements. In 2008, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) as recommended by its Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) reduced the number of free parking stalls (from 545 to 300).
Another attempt was made in 2020 by DOBOR to reduce the free parking by another 125 stalls, which was unsuccessful due to public outcry. The most recent attempt to monetize public ocean access was in September of 2022 when the BLNR authorized the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to find a private developer of the AWSBH. This action by a state agency does not protect the free recreational parking that was negotiated by the public in 2008 because the parking plan was “subject to change” in the RFP.
Lack of free access would (1) add a financial barrier to the local community and restrict their access, (2) increase the financial risk of getting towed if the parking is converted to metered parking, (3) pose a public safety concern with people parking at Magic Island and paddling through the channel to access the surf breaks.
SB1034 requires the protection of the free 300 parking stalls that were negotiated between the state and the public in 2008 to ensure free beach access for all people of Hawai’i.