Kokua Line: Gates, bag claims renamed ahead of airport expansion

Question: New signs at the Honolulu airport are a big improvement, but what was the reasoning to switch gate identification from numbers to letters, and vice versa, with baggage claim letters to numbers?

Answer: “The new numbering is necessary to accommodate future expansion and additional gates that will be added with the new Mauka Concourse and Diamond Head Concourse, provide a more efficient means of directing people through the airport property and to deliver an upgraded look to the signage, which hasn’t been updated in more than a quarter- century,” said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. “It is also consistent with the type of numbering that has been implemented at major airports across the country.”

The gate and baggage claim renaming was unveiled June 1 as part of an overall sign replacement project at Daniel K. Inouye International Air­port that will replace about 3,100 signs, indoors and outdoors, “along the roadways and within the terminals and parking structures,” Sakahara said.

The sign replacement project is part of the much larger Airport Modernization Plan.

Although the gate and baggage claim signs aren’t exactly new, your question is timely, with the extra-busy Thanksgiving travel season ahead. Some passengers traveling this holiday season may have missed the DOT’s outreach on this subject in May.

Gates formerly designated by a number are now designated by a letter followed by a number. The old Gate 18 became Gate E-10, for example. A map at 808ne.ws/ gatemap illustrates the changes.

As a DOT news release issued ahead of the changes explained, “With the last gate at the existing Diamond Head Concourse being Gate 6, renaming the gates will accommodate the new Diamond Head Concourse, which will be adding 15 to 20 additional gates.” The old Gate 6 is now G-6.

Changing the gate names meant changing the baggage claim carousel designations, too, to avoid confusion. Baggage claim names used to be alphanumeric, but now there’s no letter, just a number. In Terminal 2, for example, the numbers for baggage claim run from 1 to 31. See a map of the current configuration at 808ne.ws/bagmap.

“This will be one of the biggest adjustments to the public, especially to those picking up passengers at baggage claim,” the May 14 news release said.

Although you didn’t mention the terminals, they also got new names. Terminal 1 (Hawaiian Airlines) is the former interisland terminal, Terminal 2 (all other airlines) is the old overseas terminal and Terminal 3 (Mokulele Airlines) used to be called the commuter terminal, the news release said.

Q: I voted at Kamiloiki Elementary School, and there was a lady making a stink that somebody was sign-waving for a candidate (I can’t remember who) too close to the polling place. They were up on the sidewalk on Hawaii Kai Drive, not even on school property.

A: If the sign waver was within 200 feet of the school parking lot, the lady making a stink was correct. Campaigning within 200 feet of the perimeter of a “polling place and appurtenances” is against the law. The state Office of Elections explains on its website that a polling place and appurtenances include:

>> The building in which the polling place is located.

>> Any parking lot adjacent to the building and routinely used for parking at that building.

>> The routes of access between the building and any parking lot.

>> Any route of access between any public thoroughfare and the polling place.

The school entrance and parking lot abut Hawaii Kai Drive. The sign waver didn’t need to be on school property to violate the law.


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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