The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.
By Mayor Alan Arakawa
Q: A friend told me about two women in their 80s who were waiting for the Maui Bus near Ah Fook’s Supermarket at Kahului Shopping Center. The women missed the bus because the bus driver did not see them.
Because it was raining, the women were waiting under the eaves instead of out in the open. However, since they did not want to block the entrance to Ah Fook’s, they were waiting in front of the next store down – which was even further away from the bus stop. Apparently, no one needed to get off at the shopping center so the bus driver did not stop. What are Maui Bus riders supposed to do when it’s raining or very hot and there is no bus shelter? Also, what are drivers instructed to do so they don’t miss riders like these elderly women? Luckily, they managed to call a friend who was able to pick them up, but not everyone will be that fortunate.
A: Our county Transportation Department has been busy constructing bus shelters at dozens of locations around the island, but there are still many Maui Bus stops that do not have covered shelters yet.
This makes it challenging for riders waiting in the hot sun or in the rain for the bus. At those locations, Maui Bus drivers have been alerted to stop and observe whether any passengers are waiting to board. Since it can be difficult for the driver to determine who is waiting to board, riders are asked to make their way to the stop before the bus arrives so they won’t be missed.
For evening or night-time pickups, it’s advisable for riders to carry a flashlight or other type of illumination to let the driver know they are present. In the case of the elderly women, they may qualify for other types of public transportation such as the “Shopper’s Shuttle,” or even the ADA service provided by MEO, Inc. called “Ala Hou.” To learn more about the MEO options, call 877-7651. Qualified disabled passengers may also ride the Maui Bus Paratransit service; more info is available online at www.mauicounty.gov/Paratransit or by calling the Maui County Dept. of Transportation at 270-7511.
Q: Where can I find a public restroom in Paia? I work in Paia town and every day, over and over, I hear this question. It seems that this area is booming with new businesses and new construction, so it seems only civilized that we should have a centrally located public restroom for our visitors and residents. How does the citizenry go about getting the process started?
A: We are currently working on a solution that would involve the placement of a portable toilet trailer unit in Paia town. The only county restroom in Paia is located at Lower Paia Park, also known as Baby Park, on the Kahului side of Paia town.
Q: I’ve been hearing that you are planning to move the driver licensing office at Maui Mall to Paia near Baldwin Park. Why? That seems like a terrible location.
A: First of all, that is not true, but I can understand why some people are a little confused if they’ve only heard a portion of the whole story. Here’s the situation in a nutshell.
The new owners of Maui Mall are not renewing the county’s lease for our service center, which includes the DMVL, so we are forced to find a new location by next year.
A&B offered to sell the county 4 acres in their Maui Business Park II in Kahului for $7 million so we can build a new service center there. However, the developers of Kehalani Village Center in Wailuku also offered to sell the county 5 acres in the shopping center space for $6.6 million. Now here’s where Paia comes into play. A&B wanted to sweeten their deal and eventually offered to gift the county some 36 acres of beachfront property in Paia from Baldwin Park to the Paia Youth & Cultural Center if we build our service center in Kahului at their business park. Kehalani in turn offered a gift of 14 acres near Long’s Drugs in Wailuku if we build in their shopping center.
Both are good opportunities and we hope to hear from the County Council and the community as to which they prefer. But again, the new service center will NOT be built in Paia. If we were to accept the A&B deal the service center would be in Kahului but we would receive the 36 acres in Paia as an incentive; we would then clear the brush and canefield so that people have better access to the park and beach areas there. Bottom line, the service center will remain in Central Maui; the community needs to advise the Council which site it prefers.
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.
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