Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-recently asked questions submitted to his office staff.
Dear Mr. Mayor:
Q: I heard there was a headline in the Maui News that said no more short-term [vacation rental home] licenses are being given for homes on Maui. Is this true? If so when did it become law?
A: No, that is not true, although it might be in the future if the County Council follows the Maui Planning Commission’s recommendation to call for a moratorium on all new short-term vacation rental permits. There is currently a shortage of affordable rental homes for residents, which is why the panel wants to hold off on more short-term accommodations for visitors.
Dear Mayor Arakawa:
Q: It has come to my attention that along Front Street, there are no public recycling receptacles of any kind to deposit recyclable materials in. I realize that money (or lack thereof) is the purported reason for the receptacles not being in place. Is this still the obstacle? If so, we must work around this issue. As the person stated in an “Ask the Mayor” column published early last year, I am willing to purchase receptacles and also participate in the emptying of them. I’m sure many others in the Lahaina community are willing to do so as well. Please let me know if there is any plan to put recycling receptacles on Front Street. If not, we, the community members, will have to do it ourselves. Thank you for your time.
A: Actually, there is recycling taking place along Front Street that has proven to be effective at diverting approximately 95 percent of the HI-5 recyclables by utilizing the existing trash barrels. What you may not be aware of is that each of the 35 historically appropriate wooden oak barrel trash receptacles along Front Street have signs stating “Cans Bottles OK” and the international recycling logo. These barrels are part of an effective beautification program funded by a County Parks grant and run by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF). The receptacles are “mined” daily by LRF staff and every few hours or so by individuals collecting HI-5 recyclables. Front Street sidewalks are narrow and very crowded with several sets of bike racks and hundreds if not thousands of pedestrians daily; these and other reasons would make it less than ideal to install separate recycling bins. The LRF says the current system has worked remarkably well for numerous years, maintains the visual look of the Historic Districts and requires no additional staff, transportation, funds, equipment or supplies. Once a year, as a service project, volunteers from the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise brush an oil-based finish on the oak barrel trash cans, which has significantly prolonged their life. The LRF also encourages business to “adopt a barrel” and maintain it on a regular basis.
Aloha Mayor Arakawa,
Q: The County conducted a traffic flow study on Mission Street in Wailuku a few years back and it showed an unusually high volume of vehicular traffic. There are ineffective speed bumps allowing traffic to move at a high rate of speed over this two-block stretch of road. There is a two-way stop on Vineyard where the two roads intersect. For the safety of the residents, would it be possible to make this intersection a four-way stop? This could effectively slow traffic and make this area safer for all the old folks and school children who use this street as pedestrians.
A: Based on the traffic flow study you referred to, the speed humps on Mission Street seem to be doing their job of slowing traffic. Engineering staff from the Dept. of Public Works (DPW) have noted that stop signs are not recommended as a means of speed control; they are primarily utilized because of a limited sight distance, or are used to control traffic based on traffic volumes. An unwarranted stop sign, such as in this case, typically results in non-compliance even by otherwise responsible drivers. However, DPW can check the height of the speed humps to make sure they are still within standard height, and monitor the on-street parking of vehicles that can cause unsafe situations for pedestrians when they are forced to walk in the street.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email:AskTheMayor@mauicounty.gov, phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.