Event on Lahaina Harbor planning process scheduled

The IMAGINE public planning process for the Lahaina Harbor area will continue at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Pioneer Inn.

Light refreshments will be served, and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

The event will mark the final meeting in the transportation analysis portion of the plan. Future meetings will focus on how best to tell the important historical and cultural stories of the area through interpretive signs, restoration of historic sites and more.

The Lahaina Harbor area is bounded by the ocean and Market, Canal and Front streets. There are two large parks – Banyan Tree and the oceanfront park makai of the Lahaina Public Library.

Challenges identified in the area include conflicting uses, loitering and drug use, traffic congestion, lack of shady seating areas and disrespect for historic sites.

The public planning process advocates a pedestrian-first approach for the highly congested area. The draft plan calls for replacing the automobile parking around three sides of Banyan Tree Park (Hotel, Wharf and Canal streets) with a sidewalk. A dispatch system would be created to manage the numerous taxis that come into the area. Congestion during boat days and the daily arrival and departures of ferries would be alleviated with a harbor ambassador who would be stationed by the hau tree at the harbor loading dock.

The IMAGINE public planning process is funded by a grant from the county Planning Department and is coordinated by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. For more information, contact the foundation at 661-3262.