Surf’s Up

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Surf’s Up

Here’s the deal — Surfers in the Waikiki area of Honolulu are complaining that the local authorities are going to start charging for parking along the beach. Read about it here. I just loved their quote:

Melissa Ling-Ing said she has difficulty finding parking to go surfing
off the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, noting that a state proposal to add more
paid-parking stalls would further limit public access to the shoreline.

"It’s a real inconvenience," said Ling-Ing, spokeswoman for Common
Ground Hawaii. "We’re opposed to it because it will deny us beach
access."

HUH?  How does charging for parking deny them beach access.  The money is going to maintain the harbor, but since the surfers ride the waves outside the harbor, they feel that they shouldn’t have to pay to park.

They are complaining that there’s not enough spaces for them to use, and they want more free parking, not less. The problem seems to be that non beach goers are using the spaces. Charging to park would stop that and give the surfers enough space to park.

How do people decide that there is a certain inalienable right to free parking. The spaces have to be paved, lighted, patrolled by the police and the rest.  Should all that be free. I’m sure that the surfers have complained that there are too many potholes, or that there aren’t enough cops when you need them. But they shouldn’t have to pay for that.

It boggles the mind.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. First of all, it is obvious that some people (including yourself) are not familiar with the island culture of Hawaii. It is a shame because it is a beautiful thing. To inform you, Hawaii is a place rich in resources but poor in income (for the locals anyway). People choose to use the ocean as a recreational resource because it is one of the few sources of free entertainment that the islands have. The state is becoming increasingly privatized and it’s devastating because the local people cannot afford to live here (as is evident by the statistics of relocating to more affordable states). As the local people leave, so does the spirit of “aloha” which is attributed through these people. One must realize that people who surf these breaks (Hawaii’s premiere south shore break), people stay for the entire day. They barbecue, hang out with friends, skateboard in the lot, etc. It is not merely for a couple hours. Rather, people spend the WHOLE day here because it is close to the beach and one can come in, rest, and go back out without a having to walk a mile. Families use this as a weekly family outing. I realize that the culture is different for any other beach in the mainland but this is Hawaii. This culture is what sets us apart from anywhere else. Unfortunately, many of the people and families who come here, simply cannot afford to pay for parking-especially if they choose to stay all day. This is one of the last free parking areas in Waikiki. This place is not simply a boat harbor. Before it was a boat harbor it was used for recreational use. A dozen or so boat owners complained that they did not have enough parking for them (although paying 25 dollars a month provides them a parking stall) versus the thousands of recreational users who oppose parking fees. By imposing fees, the state places obstacles and deters people from ocean access. I am not the only one who cannot afford to pay ten-15 bucks a day for surfing. As the islands pride themselves in the spirit of ‘aloha’ (which also means ‘welcome’), the state has a duty to ferociously encourage, not discourage, people to visit this area and use it to its maximum potential as it has been for generations. Mahalo.

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