VIDEO: Makawao Third Friday Successful and Problematic
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcCBYoObFRQ /]
By David Kvasnicka
Makawao Third Friday’s “soft launch” drew crowds in the hundreds, in stark contrast to Lahaina Second Friday’s debut.
Problems with the venue were immediately apparent. Traffic was reduced to a crawl on both Makawao Ave. and Baldwin Ave., with many frustrated at waiting 30 minutes to an hour to enter the town.
Parking was also inadequate, and some resorted to parking significant distances away in residential areas. The annoyance of some residents was evident, and at least one angry homeowner was seen standing in his front yard to deter revelers from parking.
Makawao Third Friday is part of the Maui Town Parties initiative, organized by Maui County’s Office of Economic Development. OED Director Teena Rasmussen said the county was looking into solutions, and described the situation as “completely unexpected,” as they had not officially commenced advertising the events.
The director said that they had since identified suitable parking lots and planned to indicate those areas on their website.
But she also warned that “people need to think about parking outside the perimeter of Makawao Town” and entering on foot.
Meanwhile, the county would consult the Maui Police Department and other parties about solutions to the traffic problem. An initial idea is to re-route traffic in the area, particularly to avoid the four-way stop in the center of town, which is believed to be the source of the congestion.
So far, the county said they had not received any formal complaints from residents about the town party.
See more our previous story on the official announcement of the Maui Friday Town Parties initiative.