Proposed Parking Lot on Ponahawai Street
Parking has always been identified as one of the top concerns in Downtown Hilo. This is a proposal for a Parking Lot on Ponahawai Street on the parcel of land that runs along Alenaio Stream. Ideally, any new parking areas should be located on the edge of Downtown Hilo to encourage a walkable, pedestrian friendly and safe town. This parking lot would provide approximately 70 parking spaces for businesses, relieve some vehicular congestion on Kamehameha Ave., and be within a short walking distance to the farmer’s market, restaurants, and shopping areas. It could also be used as a parking area for special events at Mooheau Bandstand and the soccer fields. The Hilo Bayfront Trails Master Plan also identifies this location as a small parking area to accommodate trail users.
The two aerial photos show 1) a Detailed Parking Lot overlay and 2) an Overview of the Proposed Parking area plus an adjacent open space area fronting Kilauea St. that could include park amenities as a gateway to Downtown Hilo.
If this parking lot is built, it will need to be paved, meet ADA requirements, and among others, crosswalks would need to be placed. Perhaps, a permeable pavement system can be explored. The coconut trees would need to be removed, however, new trees and native landscaping could be planted.
This area is actually a portion of a larger parcel, TMK: 2-2-6:1, which wraps around to Kamehameha Ave. where the soccer fields are located. As part of the Alenaio Stream Flood Control project, there is a berm which guides water away from Downtown and towards the open soccer fields which serve as a drainage basin for heavy rains or flooding.
The subject parcel is owned by the County of Hawai‘i, zoned ‘Open’, located within the Special Management Area, and in the VE Flood Zone. An Environmental Assessment and Special Management Area Use Assessment would need to be completed. The Corp of Engineers would also need to be consulted on any parking plans. This project would require capital funding. Please share your comments, concerns, and suggestions.
EDH 2025 Primary Focus Area: Managing Growth
Secondary Focus Area(s): Creating Economic Vitality