Public lodging and island-wide sidewalk obstruction bills submitted to City Council
News Release from Office of the Mayor, July 5, 2018
Honolulu — Following a press conference last week where Mayor Kirk Caldwell discussed the administration’s latest efforts to keep public areas accessible to all, the public lodging and sidewalk obstruction bills that the mayor discussed were submitted today to the Honolulu City Council. View the Mayor’s Message and the bills here and here.
“Both of these bills make it clear that our sidewalks and other public areas like parks were designed to be enjoyed by everyone, and cannot be obstructed or used as someone’s personal campsite,” said Mayor Caldwell. “I look forward to working with the City Council as these bills make their way through the committee process and public hearings. Although we’ve made gains in combating homelessness, there is a group of service-resistant individuals who continue to disobey the rules and take up our public spaces.”
The sidewalk obstruction bill would outlaw obstructions on city sidewalks throughout the island of O‘ahu from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The purpose of the sidewalk bill is to make it clear that you can’t place or do anything on a sidewalk that creates an obstruction and interferes with the flow of pedestrian traffic. The penalty would be a $100 dollar fine or a judge may sentence the violator to community service. However, there would be certain exceptions. For example, people waiting in line, attending a parade or festival, suffering medical emergencies, or conducting free speech activities, would be exempt.
The public lodging bill would make it illegal to lodge on a public sidewalk or other public areas if shelter facilities are available. Police officers would not be able to make an arrest or issue a citation unless they have verified that shelter space is available, and have gone through a number of steps, including but not limited to, orally requesting the person to comply with their requests to move from a public area and issuing a written warning. If the person refuses to be transported to an available shelter, the officer would allow at least one hour for the person to relocate to a non-public area.
During last week’s press conference Mayor Caldwell also unveiled three new signs to reinforce that the storage of personal property at bus stops, parks and other public areas is illegal. The signs state, in part, that any personal property must be removed from these areas, and if not removed within 24 hours, items will be impounded.
Related: Caldwell: Outlaw Homeless Blocking Public Facilities While Refusing Shelter Space
SA: City lawyers work hard to ensure sidewalk bills will withstand challenges