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LETTERS for the January 11 issue

By Staff | Jan 11, 2018

Bypass plans will impact everyone in Lahaina

Here are my thoughts after attending the community meeting the DOT hosted on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

DOT was there to let the Lahaina Business Park people know that all traffic from Highway 30 will be re-routed onto the new bypass at Cut Mountain, and the existing portion of Highway 30 at that point will be closed off to all traffic (with the exception of a gate that could be opened for emergency vehicles).

This makes the highway south of Lahaina a dead end.

As you are well aware, the Business Park off of Keawe has grown and matured in the past ten years. The surrounding area now houses condos, several drive-throughs (Walgreens, Panda, Burger King and Starbucks) and another new housing develpment off of Kahoma.

I speak for the board of directors at Emerald Plaza, the 28 owners and the over 100 employees of these businesses when I say the current plan to funnel highway traffic off the lower road onto the incomplete bypass MUST NOT HAPPEN.

I am writing you to express my alarm about the closure of the highway at Cut Mountain and the poorly thought out plan to funnel all that traffic to the incomplete bypass and then down Keawe.

I am alarmed because the DOT stated position is “people will adjust to not being able to turn left on Keawe by changing their behavior.” David Goode, Maui County director of Public Works, insisted we can all just turn right – and go miles out of our way? Or just not frequent any businesses on the laterals off Keawe, because they are too dangerous and difficult to get to when there is moderate traffic on Keawe.

That alone would cause alarm, but the further statement at the community meeting that the afternoon traffic flow of 1,500 to 1,800 cars per hour or more on the highway will flow past Kupuohi all afternoon is unacceptable.

Currently it takes as long as 15 minutes to turn left on Keawe off of Kupuohi (crossing three lanes of traffic without a light) when the high school lets out.

Sure… the mitigation suggested by DOT of just changing my behavior could work if it means changing a 15-minute window, but it will not work for a business, at all, if the window becomes four hours or more. It is not a stretch to imagine heavy negative impact to all businesses that rely on people being able to come and go without having to make right-hand turns.

There is no light and no natural traffic break on the downhill run of Keawe, and when the traffic backs up and has to then turn on Highway 30 again.

Everyone in Lahaina area will be impacted. We all need to speak up to revisit the poor plan of closing the lower highway to through traffic. Contact your representatives from county level to state representative.

Only through community response will DOT respect the West Side of Maui and the impact they will create by making the highway south of Lahaina a dead end.

Every single business owner and representative that attended the DOT meeting spoke to this very thought: we do not need an interchange at that point; all we need is to allow the northbound traffic to either go high on the bypass or stay low on the highway.

There is no reason to think that anyone needs to create some kind of expensive solution to turning left from the southbound lane at Cut Mountain at this time.

Keep Highway 30 open!

ERIK STEIN, Extended Horizons Scuba, Emerald Plaza


Create a roundabout at the bypass entrance

“Put in a roundabout!” I was referring to the Southern Terminus of the Lahaina Bypass at Cut Mountain. We’ve waited over 25 years for the bypass; let’s do this right. A roundabout redesign will enable the present bypass to work without changing the southern end. A smarter signal configuration would allow better flow on Keawe Street. EVERY DAY, someone runs the red light at that intersection; let’s not make this any worse. Add to this they want to do this at the busiest time of year? Yikes!



Repeat ‘Roosevelt’s New Deal’ concepts

The Department of Defense prepares a Quadrennial Defense Review to articulate the strategic direction for its “ways, means, and ends.” The Armed Forces could implement “Roosevelt’s New Deal” concepts to create jobs, invest in public works, provide civic uplift and promote agriculture.

Allocate Department of Defense resources for food security, employment opportunities and capital improvements. Incorporate ideals of the Civilian Conservation Corps for public work relief. Emulate the National Guard by positioning the military within communities.

Downsize the military in Hawaii and transition to agriculture. Relocate the Armed Forces throughout the continental United States. Stationing military near the borders would be a deterrent for illegal crossings. Restore and revitalize communities by placing military personnel in economically depressed areas, dangerous neighborhoods and regions with deteriorating infrastructure.

The military can help rebuild communities to create desirable and safe environments. Improving infrastructure, schools, apartments and facilities throughout the U.S. will raise the quality of living. Condemned apartment complexes and abandoned housing districts could be designated for military living quarters. Restoring the structures would increase property values, breathing new life into these regions.

Necessary workforce for the military’s support community will transform welfare recipients into contributing members of society. Once an area is revitalized, it may encourage other industries to provide jobs. The military could then relocate to other disadvantaged areas, cultivating more healthy and prosperous communities.

Defense dollars allocated for safer environments, food security and economic growth makes sense. Align military forces with a strategic mission to directly benefit American citizens.



Get involved in all levels of government

In regard to your recent editorial on volunteering for county commissions, for myself, being involved in government falls more into a federal level of government.

As an advocate for the National Endowment for the Arts, I receive no monetary compensation.

However, the rewards for Hawaii have been great through awareness of how important the arts are to Hawaii’s local, small personal, proprietary and corporate businesses, as well as non-profits.

Through this interaction, we have many corporate and government agencies talking about needs for Hawaii.

Also, we are involved in the Hawaii State Capitol after going through the Public Access Room (PAR), getting to know state lawmakers via submitting legislative ideas to them.

Through this, we have submitted ideas to local county government. Make suggestions and raise awareness of thoughts, as well as the needs for a better Maui County community.