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Ask The Mayor

Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Q: With the recent road improvements to Pulehu Road and the opening of the new Safeway, traffic on Pulehu has increased. At present, there is a stop sign only for cars traveling on Pulehu. The through traffic on Hansen Road is fast moving and difficult to see coming on the east side. It is a little scary to know when it is safe enough to cross and I believe a stoplight would prevent future accidents. I hope you will have time to look into this.

A: Mahalo for your question and I share your concerns. We are requesting funding in the fiscal year 2021 capital improvement program budget to study this intersection so we can resolve this issue with the best course of action.

I have seen how fast people travel on Hansen Road and I believe reducing vehicular speeds should be our primary focus before we consider putting in another traffic signal. I have forwarded your email and concerns to our Maui Police Department to address appropriately.

For a list of current and future projects by the Department of Public Works, please visit www.mauicounty.gov/1844/Current-Future-Projects.

Q: How does someone add more streetlights and/or flashing crosswalks to a street? It’s dangerous crossing the street in Wailuku and I would like to see some installed near my workplace. Mahalo for your time.

A: Thank you for sending me this question and I would be more than happy to help. I’ve contacted staff in our Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, about your concern and they’ve asked if you could call to make a formal request for a streetlight or flashing light/beacon.

Staff can help walk you through an application request, though each has a different process. Streetlight requests will need to go through the Public Works Commission, while flashing beacons would be reviewed by the Department. Staff would evaluate the location on whether it meets their guidelines, and if it does, the beacons can be installed as funding is available.

For more information and to download a streetlight application, please visit www.mauicounty.gov/556/Engineering-Division and look under Forms & Applications. To reach the Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, call 270-7745.

Q: I see a lot of out-of-state business ventures coming here and setting up shop. What are you going to do to keep local businesses intact and more local businesses to get started? It’s kind of sad to see Mainland companies come here and use “aloha” as a marketing tool.

A: I completely agree with you, and I think we all remember one of the worst examples of this exploitation of Native Hawaiian culture in the Aloha Poke Co. cease-and-desist letters.

I have been a lifelong supporter of local businesses and helping people who were born and raised in Maui County find success. I don’t want to see our small business owners just survive, I want them to thrive.

The county provides a number of programs and resources for future business owners, and partners with numerous organizations. Currently, we’re partnering with the Maui Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the “Shop Small Maui” campaign, which will be highlighted by “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 30.

There are more than 250 merchants participating in Shop Small Maui and I strongly encourage everyone to shop locally this holiday season rather than buying gifts online from national mega retailers. Many of our local shops serve as community hubs that brings friends and families together, and supporting them helps build a healthier and more self-sufficient economy.

Other county initiatives include Maui Economic Opportunity’s Core Four program, which teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to start/grow their businesses and how to write a business plan. Well over 2,000 Maui County residents have graduated from this program, which is offered 10 times per year on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

For more information on Shop Small Maui or to join the campaign, visit www.shopsmallmaui.com or call Business Development Specialist Tokie Ogawa at 270-7415.

To access online business research tools, browse business publications, obtain forms and applications for business licenses and download a handbook on starting a business in Maui County, visit www.mauicounty.gov/MCBRC. To view the calendar of workshops from the Maui County Resource Center webpage, click on “Training Opportunities.” You can call 873-8247 for more information on services provided at the center.

* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino 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.