Published in The Maui News July 14, 2013
By ELLE COCHRAN, for The Maui News
Parking and traffic safety in Wailuku and Lahaina – hot topics in two bustling towns – will be the focus of the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee at its meeting tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.
The committee will discuss a number of bills that have been dormant on its master agenda. My goal is to bring these items forward and make a determination whether they are still pertinent to the community, or if circumstances over time have changed community wishes.
One bill, submitted four years ago, would prohibit parking along Onaona Street behind the county building. This request was based on area residents’ long-standing concern that the street, which is substantially less than 44-feet-wide, is too narrow for on-street parking.
A width of 44 feet is the standard for county-classified “minor streets.” Emergency vehicles, refuse trucks and delivery vans have a difficult time maneuvering these streets when vehicles are parked along them.
Similarly, a bill submitted in 2009 will be reviewed which would ban parking on a portion of Wailani Street in Wailuku, also a substandard minor street.
The committee will consider Councilmember Michael P. Victorino’s proposal from 2011 to prohibit parking on Wailuku’s Kahawai Street from Market Street to Makua Lane, based on traffic-safety concerns.
A bill to prohibit parking on both sides of Front Street in Lahaina from Honoapiilani Highway to Shaw Street is also on the agenda. This bill was proposed by the Director of Public Works and was recommended by the Traffic Safety Council last year.
Because of safety hazards, the Department of Public Works was able to move forward without council action on this item, where it has the authority to do so, and has already installed no-parking signage along some portions of Front Street.
As the council member from West Maui, I know firsthand how important parking is to residents and visitors in Lahaina. But, I also recognize that this portion of Front Street is narrow, and that parked vehicles create risks for pedestrians and drivers alike.
The only recently transmitted bill that will be discussed tomorrow was submitted by the Managing Director to repeal a section in the Maui County Code in its entirety, which placed parking restrictions on the Old Wailuku Post Office’s previous parking lot. The amended bill also removes parking restrictions to stalls located on the Kaohu Street side of the Kalana Pakui Building in the Wailuku civic center.
The Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee strives to achieve effective and safe traffic systems, responsible implementation of environmental coordination, efficient construction and maintenance of county facilities and timely review of amendments to subdivision and housing ordinances.
With complete, sustainable streets and more opportunities for commuting like walking, bicycling and mass transit – as envisioned by the Maui County General Plan 2030 – it is with great hope that parking issues will eventually subside.
I look forward to community participation on these scheduled items and all future committee work. It is with community input that I feel our best work as public servants is accomplished.
A copy of the meeting agenda is at mauicounty.gov/committees/IEM.
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Elle Cochran holds the council seat for the West Maui residency area. She is the chair of the Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.