Q: Is there a reason why Mokulele Highway doesn't have a 55-mph speed limit? It certainly was safely built for speeds like that and seems an obvious speed limit for the situation. Can your office help in getting this changed? This would help with keeping in line with the 55-mph speed limit set for other highways on Maui. The current 45-mph speed limit is too slow and creates a seven-mile-long speed trap.
A: Mokulele Highway is a state-controlled roadway, and the county does not have jurisdiction over the speed limits. According to the state Department of Transportation, the posted 45-mph speed limit on a portion of Mokulele Highway is appropriate under existing conditions. Along the approximately 5.8 roadway miles from Hansen Road to Piilani Highway, there are five signalized intersections and two unsignalized intersections (one being signalized in the future) spaced between 0.33 miles and 1.4 miles apart. In general, signalized intersections are not posted higher than 45 mph to minimize rear-end crashes and red light-running. Raising the speed limit between signalized intersections for short distances (less than two miles) increases the potential for intersection crashes due to noncompliance with the 45-mph speed limit through the intersection. In addition, raising the speed limit would be contrary to the state's "Complete Street" policy in considering all users of the roadway. For more information, visit hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/.
Q: I want to know why camping is now allowed at Waihee Beach Park, when you clearly have a sign down there that reads "No Camping." You are going to have homeless people down there again, setting up house. The park is for everyone to enjoy. Please clear the park and enforce, "No Camping!"
A: Waihee Beach Park is regularly monitored and parks staff frequently remove campers who do not have permission to be there. While there is no permitted camping at the county beach park, approval for nonprofit organizations and groups to camp in this area for special events is approved through the director's office. Groups must submit their request in writing in a letter to the parks director. A list is kept in the director's office to track which organizations have permission to camp there for special events, and the contact person for each group.
Q: I live in a condominium next to a nursery, and the past three nights I've been hearing the distinct sounds of coqui frogs. I know this is a serious problem that can spread quickly if not taken care of right away. Besides calling the nursery to let them know, is there another agency I can call?
A: According to my environmental coordinator, Rob Parsons, you can call the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC), a partnership that receives partial funding from the county to protect our islands from the most harmful invasive plants and animals that threaten our environment, economy and quality of life. MISC works to prevent invasive species from becoming established on Maui, Molokai and Lanai, controls invasive species on private and public property, and educates people about invasive species and how to protect Maui County. Current control projects include coqui frogs, the veiled chameleon, fountain grass, ivy gourd, miconia and pampas grass. On Maui there are six identified populations of coqui frogs in and around nurseries, residential areas and one large natural area. MISC has a full-time crew that spends much of its time clearing habitat and controlling coqui frogs on Maui. They work with landowners to find and remove the coqui. The nocturnal frogs are native to Puerto Rico but have no natural predators or competitors in Hawaii to keep populations in check. The tiny frogs may eat large quantities of insects (but not mosquitos), which can disrupt the balance of vulnerable native ecosystems. Economically, coqui infestations cause decreased plant export sales, while the high-decibel mating calls of the male coqui negatively impact real estate values and disrupt sleep for both residents and visitors. With large numbers of coqui on the Big Island, we are always at risk of new introductions. You can ensure you are not introducing coqui to your property by purchasing landscaping plants from businesses participating in MISC's Coqui-free Certification program. For more information, visit www.coquifreemaui.org, or www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org/iscs/misc/. You can also check out MISC's Facebook page or call them at 573-6472.
Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th 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 email@example.com.