Ongoing complaints along Maui’s Hāna Scenic Drive lead to 387 parking citations

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Illegal parking along the Hāna highway June 2021. PC: courtesy

387 parking certificates issued along the Hāna highway

The Maui Police Department issued 387 parking tickets and 83 offender warnings on the Hāna Freeway between Ha’ikū and the town of Hāna over a three-week period from June 1 to 23.

It’s part of an effort to alleviate and relieve traffic jams and illegal parking along the scenic route that has developed with the recent return of tourism.

County and state officials worked together to put up signs along the Hāna Expressway, to discourage illegal parking by warning of a $ 35 parking ban fine and a 200 surcharge. $ for illegal stopping on a state highway.

Installation of the signs began on June 10 at the Waikamoi Stream Bridge at Mile 10. A total of approximately 70 signs are placed along the problem areas identified for the increase in fines, including: the Waikamoi Stream Bridge; Twin falls; Bamboo forest; Ching Pond; Waikani Bridge; Pua’a Ka’a Park; and the Hanawī Bridge.

“I understand the anger and frustration of our residents, especially those who live in the Hāna region,” Mayor Victorino said. “I don’t think these visitors would stop in the middle of the road or park illegally in their own hometown and endanger the safety of others, so why are they doing it here? ”

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Until this recent change in legislature, all un-awarded parking fines went directly to the state to support the justice system. With the further increase of a $ 200 parking surcharge, Mayor Victorino said he understood he would go to the state’s finance ministry, and each jurisdiction’s police department would get half of this fine for enforcement purposes.

Illegal parking along the Hāna Highway June 2021. PC: Wendy Midgett

Law enforcement conducted amid officer shortage

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“The Maui Police Department continues to operate with a huge staff shortage. Eighty percent of our workforce is what we deal with right now. We are 20% short, or about 90 officers, ”according to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino, less than what is needed county-wide.

According to the mayor, the Maui Police Department sent an additional four to five police officers each day from Wailuku Station to cross the freeway between Twin Falls and Hāna Town, and sometimes towards Kaupō.

Also during the same three-week period, Hāna agents responded to over 200 service calls, and Wailuku agents responded to over 4,400 service calls, for a series of emergencies.

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“A choice must be made between enforcing parking violations or responding to the thousands of calls that MPD receives each week,” said Mayor Victorino. “I am sure our citizens agree that cracking down on crime is a higher priority than parking infractions, but we are working on other solutions.”

Mayor Victorino met with MPD officials to discuss the possibility of establishing a category for parking enforcement officers. Another temporary solution, he said, could be to increase efforts with the Maui County Park Rangers, but both options require an agreement with the unions representing both groups.

“We are always looking for other areas where we can help improve,” said Mayor Victorino. “We have spoken with SHOPO and UPW about adding parking enforcement officers or county guards. It is not possible to restrict access to the Hāna highway and towing cars in the area leaves visitors stranded with probably no service providers or capacity with a cell phone, and poses a safety hazard ” , did he declare.

Because federal funds were used in the construction of the state highway, county officials note that the idea of ​​restricting or limiting access is prohibited except in the event of a health or safety crisis. such as the COVID-19 epidemic.

During the pandemic, lawmakers reassessed the impacts of tourism and explored ideas regarding traffic management in East Maui. From this discussion arose a reservation system that is now in place in Wai’ānapanapa State Park, which has seen an increase in crowds and commercial visits. As of March 1, parking and entrance fees have been put in place for visitors and out-of-state commercial vehicles, requiring visitors to select a time slot to spread sightseeing throughout the day. .

Kahului Airport: May 29, 2021. Photo by JD Pells
Kahului Airport: May 29, 2021. Photo by JD Pells

Long-term milestones: Kahului airport is “overcapacity”

From a broader perspective, a list of long-term steps has been identified to deal with overcrowding, visitor education and safe parking solutions.

During a press briefing on Friday, Mayor Victorino said Kahului airport was “overcapacity”.

“We met with airline executives on limiting the airlift to Kahului airport. This is the first step in many steps we need to work on, ”he said. “We asked our state Department of Transportation about issues with the doors… They are now planning to get people off the plane, get on the tarmac, jump on a bus and now come from the tarmac to the tarmac. terminal – an extremely dangerous situation. state.”

The mayor said he has met with Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz and Hawaii Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami to work on resolving these issues.

Once on the island, visitor education is identified as a key element in ensuring that tourists are aware of the appropriate protocols and policies. “My staff are asking hotels and car rental companies to educate tourists on Hāna highway considerations,” Mayor Victorino said.

As visitors explore the island, “We are looking for paid parking and other types of parking available not only in our parks, but along our roads for a safe place where people can park and enjoy the sightseeing. “

“This is a complex problem that requires many solutions,” Mayor Victorino said in a press release. “Solving it will take a new mindset and a willingness to try new ideas. It is much more important than passing new laws or assigning more police officers. Maui County needs the cooperation of the business community, our community leaders, and the visitors themselves. We need to change the mindset and the lack of civility that creates these situations in the first place. “

Traffic jams with tourists along the Hāna highway June 10, 2021. PC: courtesy



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Shawn Beecher

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