Ask the Mayor

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: I travel Maui Lani Parkway often to get to Wailuku and Waikapu. No matter what time I travel, once you get to the four-way stop at Maui Lani and Kamehameha Avenue it takes a long time to reach the stop because traffic backs up and it takes a good while to continue traveling. Are there plans for a roundabout at that intersection? If not, why?

A: My administration put in $2.8 million in our proposed fiscal year 2019 budget to the Maui County Council for a roundabout. Our engineers conducted a feasibility study of a roundabout at the subject intersection and determined that there is enough right of way to accommodate a roundabout and that it will allow all modes of traffic to go through the intersection more efficiently than a traffic signal. Nationwide studies also show that roundabouts have a reduced number of conflict points for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists, as opposed to a traffic signal, and cost less to maintain in the long term. The council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee is scheduled to further review the project later this year. The committee is expected to render a referral to the council’s Budget and Finance Committee to either release funding for the construction of the roundabout or a traffic signal.

Q: What about the children of the homeless? I see it all the time in Maui County. Reprogram the kids that it’s not OK to live on the beach!

A: I’m not sure what you mean by “reprogram,” but it is not as simple as that. You can’t just round up homeless children and tell them that living on the beach is wrong, that’s not going to work. What the children need to see is that their families can change their present situation. This is why our Department of Housing and Human Concerns Homeless Division has a Coordinated Entry System. This enables social services and nonprofits to focus on providing housing to families with children, and because of this, we are seeing fewer children in homeless camps. As a result, more families are being educated about the system and how it works, and they are seeing positive effects. More families are able to stay together, which creates stronger bonds, and that has a direct effect on our entire community.

Q: I think it’s so hypocritical that there are laws against “distracted driving” yet it’s perfectly OK for politicians and their supporters to hold up bright signs and line the busiest streets during rush hour while waving at drivers and asking them to honk and wave back in support while driving. Shouldn’t this practice be outlawed to be more consistent with our distracted driving policies?

A: You have a valid point, and actually your comments are already very similar to what is part of Maui County Code 12.42 on “Sign Waving on Public Highways.” It states that:

“Sign waving on public highways has increased significantly over the past years. Such activities threaten the safety and welfare of motorists and pedestrians alike. Sign wavers often congregate near busy intersections, along roadways, and near crosswalks. These activities can distract motorists, interfere with and obscure pedestrians using sidewalks and crosswalks, and obstruct the view of motorists merging into oncoming traffic or making turns into intersecting streets.”

This portion of the code has a number of rules that sign-wavers need to follow. Otherwise, if someone makes a complaint or law enforcement drives by and sees the offenses for themselves, they can be subject to a $50 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second offense and $200 for all subsequent offenses. If anyone sees a campaign sign-holder doing something unsafe, he or she should report it to the police or at least call the campaign headquarters to inform the person running for office that the behavior of their volunteers needs to change. If they want your vote, they’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at askthemayor@mauicounty.gov, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email mayors.office@mauicounty.gov.

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