HONOLULU (KHON2) — Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said on Friday, June 25, he is working to mitigate traffic congestion and illegal parking along Hana Highway that have been skyrocketing since the return of tourism.
About 70 signs were installed along the road to Hana since spring break to discourage parking illegally with a warning of a $35 no parking fine and a $200 surcharge for stopping illegally on a state highway.
Maui police issued 389 parking citations and 83 warnings to violators on Hana Highway from Haiku to Hana between June 1 and June 23. Mayor Victorino said he understands frustration from residents.
“I understand the anger and frustration of our residents, especially those who live in the Hana region. I don’t believe these visitors would stop in the middle of the road or park illegally in their own hometowns and endanger the safety of others, so why are they doing it here?”Maui Mayor Michael Victorino
The mayor has met with police and Maui County Park Rangers to establish parking enforcement officers, but those options require an agreement between the representing unions of both groups. MPD is short on manpower, according to Mayor Victorino, and operates with 90 fewer officers than needed.
“A choice must be made between enforcing parking violations or responding to the thousands of calls that MPD receives each week. I’m sure our citizens agree that enforcing crime is a higher priority than parking violations, but we are working toward other solutions.”Maui Mayor Michael Victorino
Restricting access on Hana Highway was discussed but limiting access is not allowed except if there is a health or safety crisis because federal funds were used to construct the state highway. The idea of towing violators’ vehicles was also scrapped due to the safety hazard that would result from stranding people in remote areas with no reliable cellphone service.
Mayor Victorino has also met with airline executives, State officials and the Maui Airport district manager Marvin Moniz to mitigate gate congestion at Kahului Airport. The airport is operating over capacity, according to Mayor Victorino, and adds to the complex problem of overcrowding on Maui’s roadways.
“This is a complex problem that requires many solutions. Solving it will require a new mindset and willingness to try new ideas. This is much bigger than passing new laws or assigning more police. Maui County needs the cooperation of the business sector, our community leaders and the visitors themselves. We must change the mindset and lack of courtesy that creates these situations in the first place.”Maui Mayor Michael VIctorino
The Infrastructure and Transportation Committee will meet on Monday, June 28, at 9 a.m. to discuss traffic-related challenges along the road to Hana. Watch the meeting on Akaku channel 53 or through the conference link or phone number listed here. The public can also submit testimony here.