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? 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.

Q: I forgot to mail my ballot. What should I do?

A: Deliver it in person to any polling place in your county or to your county clerk’s office by 6 p.m. today, Election Day.

Auwe

Running red traffic lights is a bad habit. Imagine it’s only a matter of time that two drivers with the same habit will meet at the same intersection. That is scary. I’m sure it has happened many times. Sad. — M.R.

Mahalo

On Oct. 31 I was in the checkout line at Longs Waianae. There was a young man in front of me, then two young Hawaiian girls and an elderly man in front of them. The man had a can of corned beef, and apparently when he tried to use his credit card, the machine rejected it. He was handing the can back to the cashier when these two young women offered to pay for it. No words were exchanged between the two except for a smile and “thank you” from the man. When it was my turn to pay for my item, I told the cashier “what a blessed act of kindness” and gave a thumbs up. Their parents must have raised these girls right. Their kindness had a profound effect on me. — John Keala


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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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