Big Island Polls

Big Island Now poll results: Voters had one overwhelming opinion when it comes to parking in Kona’s Historic Kailua Village

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There is one resounding opinion among Big Island Now voters when it comes to the cost of paid parking in Kona’s Historic Kailua Village: It’s not worth the price.

Over the past several years, privately owned parking lots that used to be free so people could patronize restaurants, shops, bars and other businesses now are charging rates ranging from $9 to $15 per hour.

When asked if they felt the price to park was keeping them from Ali‘i Drive, 82% of voters, encompassing 2,052 votes, agreed it wasn’t worth the price.

Eight percent of voters said the cost wasn’t keeping them from the oceanfront roadway but they don’t go as often as they used to.


In recent years, the lot next to the Kona Public Library on Hualalai Road went paid in 2022 and Coconut Grove Marketplace also went to a paid system on Oct. 2. Both parking lots have free time or discounts for kamaʻāina with a valid Hawaiʻi Driver’s License.

Owned by Hawai‘i County, the parking lot off Kuakini Highway encompasses approximately 100 stalls. Click here for a comprehensive list of parking in downtown Kona from Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel to Royal Kona Resort.

One commenter to the poll said: “Here is the problem. The food in those shops is okay at best and very overpriced. Having to cough up money to park and overpay on mediocre food is the nail in the coffin for me. Whomever put this in place has very short-sighted thinking.”


Several people commented on social media about the parking issue.

“We went down one time for lunch. Circled around for a spot a few times and gave up, settling on a 425 spot that barely covered enough time for lunch,” wrote Instagram user ohiahomestead. “The view was nice but we’ve had better food elsewhere. Since we live on island, the tourist stuff isn’t really much of a draw down there and the parking situation is definitely a big turnoff.”

Instagram user laurajfritz said: “Robbery. I won’t go because of parking.”


Another Instagram user wrote it’s great to have the first 90 minutes free, “but it should be free for at least 3 hours.”

See the full poll results below:

  • Yes. It’s not worth the price: 2,052 (82%)
  • It’s not keeping me from Ali‘i Drive but I don’t go as often as I used to: 213 (8%)
  • No. Other things keep me from Ali‘i Drive: 89 (3%)
  • I have a secret spot!: 45 (1%)
  • Other: 40 (1%)
  • No. I don’t mind paying: 35 (1%)
  • I have no choice. I work along Ali‘i Drive: 23 (0%)

Total votes: 2,497

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