Visitors and residents of Maui start here
Maui has great resorts and lots of them. It also has a large and much-improved airport, and Valley Isle managed to attract the most flights (including wide-body aircraft) to Hawaii from any airport other than Honolulu. But now it has clearly become too much of a good thing. So what happens next and will there ever be a way to make everyone happy?
Today we’re focusing on what’s happening on some of Maui’s famous beaches, as well as in Lahaina, Wailuku and soon after in Hana. Over the next few months, Maui will introduce significant visitor-only parking fees and completely restrict visitor parking hours at a number of popular beaches. The final launch date of early 2023 is still being worked out along with some other details detailed below.
Is it the money or the idea that annoys visitors the most?
We’ve had hundreds of comments on Maui beach parking plans, and they’ve incorporated a variety of ideas.
- Local residents say they can no longer park in these locations because the parking lots are overflowing with tourists.
- Tourists are outraged that they have to pay up to $30 for beach parking.
- Others have mentioned that if you can afford to come to Maui, the $30 means nothing.
- Whether the free parking will be extended to Hawaii residents other than Maui County is yet to be determined.
- Comments noted that charging a flat fee of $30 encourages visitors to park for longer periods. In contrast, hourly parking (such as at the Honolulu Zoo) encourages parkers to leave earlier and free up space for others.
$30 beach parking for visitors. $0 for Maui residents.
Parking price range may vary based on location, season, and other variables to be determined. The subpoenas for violating the new parking regulations were also not announced.
County locations included in the initial rollouts include the following. These were confirmed by the vice chairman of Maui County Council last week.
The county said these locations were chosen in part for the ease of implementing parking meters.
- Kamaole Beach Park I
- Kamaole Beach Park II
- Kamaole Beach Park III
- Ulua Beach
Other locations being discussed, probably with hourly rates:
- City of Paia
- Hana city
- Lahaina city
- Wailuku City
The parking lot website states that Maui’s “new parking management program aims to implement forward-thinking beach park, business district and on-street parking solutions in our island’s busiest areas.”
“When parking demand is concentrated in certain areas, parking policies can ease congestion and improve access. Strategic investments in technology will streamline parking management and parking into one customer friendly part of the overall transport system.”
In other words, start loading now in the worst areas; Increase prices based on demand until the desired reduction in vehicles occurs, then gradually expand the program as quickly as possible.
Maui has more than 3 million visitors a year. Due to the sheer size and lack of proper infrastructure, residents do not have easy access to the island’s parks and beaches. PARKMAUI says, “In Lahaina and Paia, residents have become so uncomfortable finding parking, many have stopped walking, and Wailuku has long suffered from a parking shortage.”
For nearly a decade, Valley Isle has been looking for ways to better handle congestion, starting in Wailuku and Lahaina. It then became clear that the effort should be greatly expanded to include most beaches and parks.
Similar to Maui, beaches on Oahu and Kauai are simply found without parking most of the time. Examples are Kailua and Lanikai Beaches on Oahu, Tunnels Beach and Hanalei Beach on Kauai.
Highlights of the new park program:
Maui County residents who register always have free parking at Maui’s parks and beaches, and 1-2 hours of free parking and/or discounted parking in Lahaina and Wailuku.
Nonresidents must pay for parking at Maui’s Parks and Beaches and in these two cities. Parking permits are available online or via mobile apps or pay stations. It sounds like the app might not be available when the program launches. As such, kiosk-based payments may only be an option for visitors.
The program hopes to be financially sustainable and to reinvest the proceeds into various unspecified county resources and programs.
State parks and beaches are not included.
Beaches in the state of Hawaii, including Makena Beach and Waianapanapa Beach, are subject to state, not county, rules and fees. Waianapanapa State Parkfor example, costs $5 per person plus $10 per vehicle.
New PARKMAUI Program.
What do you think of Maui’s visitor park map?
Because your editors are based in Kauai County, like mainland visitors, we may be subject to these new fees. We need to think about this before paying $30 for beach parking at Kam III next trip to Maui.
Paid pilot parking on Maui beaches.
Parking facilities will be installed at Maui’s Ulua Beach and Kamaole I, II, and III Beaches. This will be evaluated during the first 90 days of operation and later changes may be made to improve the program.
Paid visitor parking is “planned at all south and west Maui beach parks, time, funding and permits permitting.”
Paid pilot parking in the cities of Lahaina and Wailuku.
In Lahaina and Wailuku, visitors compete with employees and residents for limited parking. Additional small town parking fees will be introduced as soon as possible.
The final plans are about to be announced.
Maui County Council’s infrastructure and transportation committee is scheduled to meet next week to determine the terms of the measure. We just learned that residents may initially be able to pop driver’s licenses into kiosks as proof of residence. The app is to be rolled out later and offer pre-registration for parking. The app aims to provide advice on parking conditions so users know in advance whether parking spaces are available or not.
A new “park ambassador” rule is being drafted for those who will be concerned with park enforcement.
What do you think of Maui’s park plans?
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