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Honolulu to test new meters in city's Chinatown

A new parking system is being introduced for Honolulu's Chinatown that parking officials said will help boost business while cutting down on parking tickets.
New high-tech meters could eliminate the need for coins and reduce the risk of parking tickets by letting drivers add additional time to their meters through credit cards and smartphone apps, said Wayne Yoshioka, director of the city's Department of Transportation Services.

The new system, which officials hope to have installed at 232 parking spaces by the end of the year, would eliminate the need for people to walk back to their cars to put coins into the meter.

If the meters in Chinatown work as hoped, another 2,779 on- and off-street meters throughout urban Honolulu could be retrofitted to include the new technology by fall 2012, Yoshioka said.

While transportation officials move ahead with changes to the meters in Chinatown, as well as 72 parking meters in the underground Frank Fasi Municipal Parking Lot near Honolulu Hale, city parks officials are planning to increase rates at more than 278 meters around Kapiolani Park.

The city is also planning to add 20 meters in a section of Chinatown where street parking is currently free.

The additional meters would come after the city last year replaced free parking around Thomas Square with meters, which has made it easier for people to find spaces, according to Yoshioka.

City officials will seek feedback in Chinatown during the first six months that the new high-tech meters will be in place to see whether adjustments need to be made, Yoshioka said.

Some businesses, especially restaurants, already have told city officials that their customers want to be able to park for longer than the current, one-hour maximum time limit, Yoshioka said. But some retail shops want meters with much shorter time limits, which will allow stalls to turn over more quickly.
Honolulu's Department of Transportation Services
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