“No parking” signs on East Maui have helped keep rescue numbers down for the time being
HONOLULU (KHON2) – It’s been four months since âNo Parkingâ signs were posted at popular stops along the road to Hana in Maui. The signs were posted in seven spots after cars parked on the freeway causing a traffic nightmare on the narrow freeway.
The signs were put up in mid-June at the height of summer tourism and residents said that thousands of cars continue to drive on the road to Hana every day, but apart from less traffic, the quiet community has noticed something else.
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“[The signs]- It really did curb illegal parking right away; coupled with the signage of the community which gives a little more details on why they don’t want to park or enter here. It really helped reduce the number of emergency incidents, âsaid Napua Hueu from Hana, who works with the Hana Highway Ordinance.
“No parking” signs have been posted at the Bamboo Forest, Twin Falls, Waikamoi Stream Bridge, Ching’s Pond, Pua’a Ka’a Park, Waikani Stream Bridge, and Hanawi Stream Bridge.
Prior to the state closing in March 2020, the Maui Fire Department (MFD) in East Maui reported 12 rescues; Eight of the rescue operations took place in the bamboo forest. A few months later, East Maui was closed to residents only. Rescues went quietly for months until visitors were welcomed again in October 2020 and MFD rescues resumed in Twin Falls and Bamboo Forest.
In February 2021, a A California woman died after living in Waioka. was washed out to sea by a flash flood, and several weeks later two men died after being killed by one Flash flood at Waikamoi.
MFD confirmed that rescue operations in these areas had been low since June, but it was difficult to determine whether fewer rescues were due to the âno parkingâ signs, the weather, visitor traffic or local residents’ education.
“The no-parking signs help reduce the likelihood of people parking in these areas and entering these places,” said Hueu. “With the signs in the Bamboo Forest we actually did not see any serious emergencies.”
Hueu said there are still some visitors parking further ahead and walking on the narrow highway, which poses a traffic hazard, but said the general traffic situation has improved. The community continues to educate visitors and warn them of dangers along the 52 mile freeway and off the beaten path.
âWe have implemented more signage in the community that discourages walking on the busy freeway and tried to give them information about why it is not appropriate for them to access these places and how many emergency rescues and hazards are present in these different places, âexplained Hueu.
She said a perfect example is Twin Falls, which continues to limit visitor numbers and daily parking.
“They saw a significant decrease in emergency rescue scenarios and a higher quality visitor experience,” said Hueu. “So we really want to commend you for the self-initiated work you have done to bring this concept of visitor management to life here in East Maui.”
Hueu said another area of ââconcern is Kaihalulu. On Thursday October 7th MPD rescued a 69-year-old visitor after falling off the track try to reach the beach area.
âWe recently had the Maui Visitors’ Office come to the table and they will do their best to bring all the homeowners to the table and impress them to do enforcement and help communicate the momentum . “From Kaihalulu,” she explained.
She hopes more signage will be put up to educate visitors about the trespassing issue and the dangers of visiting Kaihalulu. There is currently legal parking for access to Kaihalulu, but parking stalls are intended for Hana Ballpark.
âIt is difficult to regulate illegal parking there,â explains Hueu. “Officials don’t necessarily have the tools to get visitors out of the way because the parking spaces are legal. So we’re working with the Maui Visitors Bureau to curate the pilot for visitor information staff.”
She said the project will help investigate whether there is a need for parking there.
âMonitoring the essential needs of these parking spaces would help reduce the risk of them being exceeded. We strongly encourage the Visitor Bureau, State, and County to implement this visitor information staffing project that would help curb illegal parking and subsequently eliminate the potential for trespassing – which would eliminate the likelihood of emergency rescue and strains on our county resources, ” added Hueu.
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MFD also said they do not condone the general public entering private properties for recreational purposes, and they strongly recommend that hikers stay on marked trails that are open to the public.