WAILUKU - In the next three to six months, Maui County should embark on repairing the Wailuku municipal parking lot because it is in "poor condition" and is a "potential liability," according to an updated Wailuku parking study.
"We cannot stress enough the poor condition of the lot and the potential liability it presents if left in its current state of disrepair. Efforts should be undertaken as soon as possible to conduct the design and engineering work that would be required to perform construction repairs," according to an updated Wailuku Town Parking Study and Parking Management Plan Analysis, prepared by Downtown Parking & Planning Associates LLC of Michigan.
The updated report was scheduled to be discussed and possibly accepted by the Wailuku Redevelopment Agency on Friday in the county Planning Department conference room at Kalana Pakui. But a lack of a quorum prevented the group from taking any action on its agenda items, although it did accept public testimony.
A study on the Wailuku municipal parking lot, shown Friday, says the county needs to repair the lot soon because it is in poor condition and a potential lawsuit waiting to happen.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The updated Wailuku parking report will be taken up at the agency's Oct. 25 meeting.
Harry Eagar, social media director of Kamaaina Loan, which has businesses along Market Street, said that Kamaaina Loan owner Richard Dan is in support of the rehabilitation of the municipal lot but only if it can be done in segments.
"We couldn't stand having that thing taken out of commission in total for more than about a day," said Eagar, the only testifier.
He added that Dan has been a longtime supporter of paid parking and would be "cool" with parking meters, although the meters should be able to accept both coins and credit cards. If the meters could provide a receipt, Dan would welcome that because he would like to pay for his customers' parking, Eagar said.
Dan would like to see a test done with parking meters on Market Street for one year prior to paid parking being adopted throughout Wailuku town, Eagar said.
The newest parking report follows one completed in May 2011, which concluded that there was a shortage of parking in town. The previous report included an inventory of on- and off-street parking in the Maui Redevelopment Area, 68 acres of businesses and residences around the Vineyard and Market street intersection, and included recommendations on how to better manage parking assets in Wailuku town.
Merchants and workers in Wailuku have been asking for more parking for years, and despite the studies and recommendations, nothing has moved forward.
The latest report followed a field visit in August and was submitted to the county Planning Department and the Maui Redevelopment Agency earlier this month.
In addition to taking steps to repair the municipal lot, the report recommends that a parking committee be established in the next three to six months. The committee should include representatives of town businesses, property owners and Maui County senior staff.
The committee would be tasked with recommending parking rates, time limits, allocation regulations and other management policies for County Council approval.
In the next six months to a year, the committee should look at plans for improving the municipal lot. This could involve a single-platform parking deck built over the existing lot that would nearly double the capacity. That would still be smaller than previously proposed parking structures that were shot down due to concerns about height and cost, the report said.
The report also recommends that the county reach out to the state to address common parking, transportation and campus planning issues in Wailuku town. County employees use the municipal lot, as do state workers in nearby state-owned buildings and in privately leased buildings.
In the next couple of years, the report recommends that a decision be made on paid parking in Wailuku town.
County Public Works officials were off-island and were unavailable to comment on the report.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.