Kapiolani Park Preservation Society
P.O. Box 3059
Honolulu, Hawaii 96802
[sent to the plan consultant Mr. Gerald Park, Councilmembers Djou & DelaCruz, Senator Les Ihara, Representative Scott Nishimoto, Parks director Lester Chang, Regional Director Mike Smith]
25 June 2007
RE: Kapiolani Park Master Plan 2007
Dear Mr. Park:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment of Kapiolani Park. (Please note that the name of the Park is not "Kapiolani Regional Park," it is simply Kapiolani Park.)
Below are KPPS’ comments. Many are in bullet-point form for easy reference to the plan, and if you or your staff would like further clarification or elucidation of these short points, we would be most pleased to provide it.
- This report is confusing in its title and format. Apparently Figures 3 (p8), 11 (p36) and 12 (p37) are the draft of the Master Plan Update and the rest of the report is the draft of the Environmental Assessment.
- p. 2: 1. Zoo entrance – the report needs the latest site plan, the one that has KPPS support. The plan shown in the report is not the latest version and is not acceptable.
- p. 2: 2. Walkways widening - a good thing. Rather than concrete, use asphalt or some other soft walking surface, as this surface will be used exclusively by pedestrians, including runners, and a softer surface is more pleasant and also easier and healthier on the joints.
- p. 2: 3. Replace softball field – good for the park.
- p. 2: 4. Softball fields – This needs to specify portable and temporary backstops only, no permanent obstructions in the park's great space. KPPS has discussed this in the past with the then-Park manager Mike Smith, who assured KPPS that City agreed with the portable backstops.
- p. 3: 5. Accessibility improvements are okay, but not necessary in archery range area. It would be better to move the archery range to another park (see discussion below). When an “improvement” involves the necessity for removal of grass and the substitution of concrete, that “improvement” should come under hard scrutiny.
- p. 3: 6. Bicycle & moped parking - to be on existing parking surfaces only. No further park land to be paved over for parking of any kind.
- p. 3: 7. Underground overhead utilities – excellent. This may be the single most beneficial physical improvement to the Park that is possible.
- p. 3: 8. Paki Avenue improvements - good, but there should be no parking on the dangerous curve on Paki Avenue. This issue has been raised time & again, and one of the present parking lots was built precisely so that there would be no necessity for parking along Paki.
- p. 4: 9. Reconstruct Parking Lot - NO. This lot should be removed entirely and left to open space. It was built for a golf driving range that was determined by the court to be an illegal use of the park trust land. The golf range was removed, but somehow the lot remained. It sticks out like a sore thumb into the park's great open space. The central area of the park should not have a parking lot in it. There would seem to be no justification for a parking lot of this nature in a master plan.
- p. 4: 10. Acquire lost residential lots - absolutely - they are a part of the original park lands and should never have been sold off!
- p. 4: 11. Base-yard facelift - preserve the significant architectural exterior of H. S. Bent's architecture and renovate interior as needed.
- p. 4: Land Tenure: The following sentence should be added at the end: "The paper road extension of Leahi Avenue between Noela and Poni Moi is now city land, donated to the city by KPPS.
- Comments on figure 3:
- Zoo entrance area - retain the Preis building, remove kiosk, add set back makai Monsarrat corner of zoo fence to permit views into the great Park open space from Kalakaua/Kapahulu corner, as an exchange for the open space encroachment of the new zoo entrance into the Park's open space. (The set back of this corner of the fence has been approved by the Director of the Department of Enterprise Services.)
- Acquire remnant lots - very good.
- Remove, not reconstruct, the parking lot opposite Paki Hale.
- Bike/Moped parking should be added only on space in existing paved parking areas - No additional paving of Park land for vehicles.
- Existing tree nursery and equipment base yard exists in violation of court order requiring its removal. (See the 1991 court order.)
Keep the Park's traffic circulation pattern as it is. Alternative plans A - D (fig 13-16) are unacceptable and alter the historic character of the Park.
In addition, the proposed accessibility improvements on Poni Moi Road are not acceptable, as they pose traffic hazards on Poni Moi with its heavy school traffic. It would be better to remove the archery range to a park or parks elsewhere on the island than to ruin the aesthetics of the area and waste money building parking areas and walkways in this beautiful grassy area.
- Comments on figure 4:
- The latest site plan is not shown. The plan shown is not acceptable as the zoo entrance intrudes too far into the Park. The revised plan (not shown) which places the shop and entrance on an angle and moved back to be mostly within the zoo area is acceptable.
- Comments on figure 5:
- This shows the archery range taking up a huge area when, in fact, its size is about ¼ the area shown. The area is mostly a picnic area - and should be labeled as such - with a small area for archery. The archery use is potentially dangerous and best relocated to a less-used park elsewhere on the island. The new Koko Head Crater range is an excellent example of a proper location, and the City could be considering moving archery facilities for East Honolulu entirely to that location. Thus, archery should probably be eliminated from the long range master plan.
- Comments on figure 6:
- The parking lot opposite Paki Hale looks like a mistake on the plan and it is! The lot should be removed.
- P. 19: part H: Flora - there is no mention of one of the Park”s oldest and most character-full trees - the kiawe. As one of the original trees in the Park, existing plantings of Kiawe need to be cared for and young thornless kiawe need to be added, particularly to dryer areas of the Park.
- The Vehicle Parking Issue In General:
The number of parking spaces in the Park was set at the current number by court order subsequent to the Supreme Court ruling that re-established the Kapiolani Park Trust. The limitation was designed to keep the Park from turning into a parking lot for Waikiki.
Due to the death of a child on the curve in Paki Road near the tennis courts, and subsequent to the court order, a new parking lot was added into the central part of the Park (opposite the tree nursery) with the justification that parking was not being increased, just relocated off the dangerous curve in the road. In actuality the new lot contained more spaces than those "removed" from the curve in the road. To make matters worse the police seldom ticketed cars illegally parked on the curve and so the cars went right back into that area of the road, so that the dangerous conditions remain.
The Master Plan's contemplated road improvements are necessary, yet on the plan on page 37, corner parking appears in the left corner of the drawing of Paki Avenue improvements. There should be no street parking on that dangerous corner. The diagonal parking also appears to create safety problems on this busy road.
The existing additional parking spaces in the new lot created by the city across from the tree nursery more than make up for the parking lost along the dangerous curve, and also provide enough spaces for the replacement of the parking lot opposite Paki Hale. Thus there is no justification for retaining and reconstructing the lot across from Paki Hale since those spaces have already been accounted for in the new lot.
In general, the parking spaces in the Park are poorly administered by the city, resulting in a constant pressure to pave over more of the Park for vehicle parking. For example, much of the zoo parking lot is used by Waikiki visitors and employees who enjoy the inexpensive parking meter rates there. Many Waikiki shop and hotel workers park in the Waikiki Shell area for free during the day, depriving actual park users of its use.
Parking lots fill up on weekends with salespeople and patrons of commercial activities in the Park (sales that KPPS maintains are contrary to restrictions of the Kapiolani Park Trust), once again depriving Park users of places for their cars.
KPPS supported bus rapid transit service to the Park to provide public access to the park without destroying more areas for parking.
Many of the soccer families who use the Park want to park their cars right next to the soccer field, rather than save the Park land by walking an extra hundred yards to a sports field from the parking areas at the Waikiki Shell area where there is adequate parking on weekday afternoons.
Please note that Page 41 of the report is missing, and that the report needs the most recent revised site plan for the zoo entrance.
Thank you for your attention to these matters directly affecting our beloved Park, a sorely needed green oasis in our urban Honolulu, enjoyed by residents since territorial times and a historical treasure. We look forward to working with you on this.
Kapiolani Park Preservation Society
cc: Lester Chang, C&C Department of Parks & Recreation
Mike Smith, C&C Department of Parks & Recreation
Councilmember Charles Djou
Representative Scott Nishimoto
Senator Les Ihara, Jr.