KHON2 News Shares Koko Head District Park Collaboration

Jun 9, 2024

HTA is working with the community on collaborative destination management efforts that highlight stewardship and other programs that support and protect cultural and natural resources in Hawai‘i. KHON2 News' Kamaka Pili shares an automated gate solution that helps alleviate the impact of park users on the community surrounding Koko Head District Park.

To help alleviate the impact of park users on the community surrounding Koko Head District Park, a first-of-its-kind vehicular entrance gate began operation at this popular park in December 2023.

The time-activated gate is designed to automatically close and open the Anapālau Street entrance based on the established park closure hours of 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.

The intent of this unique gate is to minimize the impact of early morning park users on the neighbors surrounding the 40-acre park, particularly sunrise hikers of the popular Koko Crater Tramway.

Over the past five years, this vehicular gate was closed by contracted security but was not able to be reopened until 6:30 a.m. due to availability of park staffing. As a result, park users wishing to enter the park, especially for pre-dawn hikes, would park along the residential roads near the main Anapālau Street entrance. This caused significant disruption to the neighbors, in the way of noise and excessive parking, during these early hours.

“With hundreds of diverse parks spread around the island, we try our best to be good neighbors and remain sensitive to the needs of the surrounding communities,” said Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation Director Laura H. Thielen. “We truly hope this creative solution from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, O‘ahu Visitors Bureau, and our staff steers the tramway hikers to the proper parking facilities. A big mahalo to them for brainstorming this idea, and to the residents near the park entrance who patiently awaited this solution.”

The cost and installation of the gate was made possible through a partnership with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) which provided $50,000 in funding to address the community’s concerns with increased parking congestion in the neighborhood as identified in the Oʻahu Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) process.

“This is another positive example of how our community-driven Oʻahu Destination Management Action Plan is guiding us collectively to resolve issues around hotspot areas with a high volume of resident and visitor traffic,” said Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i, HTA’s interim president and CEO. “The residents of Hawai‘i Kai spoke and we heard clearly the challenges this was causing to their quality of life. In addressing their concern, we appreciate the City’s collaboration, especially Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Council Chair Tommy Waters, as we believe this solution is key to alleviating parking congestion in the area.”

Recognized as the second most popular hiking destination on O‘ahu behind the Diamond Head State Monument, the Koko Crater Tramway has experienced recent improvements provided by both the City and the dedicated volunteers from the Kokonut Koalition. The City, HTA , and O‘ahu Visitors Bureau hope this community-first partnership will foster further cohesion between the park users and Hawai‘i Kai residents by reducing parking congestion on the streets leading to the Koko Crater Tramway and Koko Head District Park.