Parking management refers to the strategies that optimize the utilization of parking resources while making parking easy, convenient, and accessible. Parking management strategies are successful when they are implemented incrementally and adjusted over time based on data. When parking demand clusters in certain areas, parking policies can mitigate congestion and improve access. Strategic investments in technology will streamline parking management and transform parking into a customer-friendly component of the overall transportation system.
According to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), visitor arrivals on Maui have increased beyond 3 Million people a year – and, as a result, local residents have struggled to get access to Maui’s popular beaches and parks. The small towns of Lahaina and Paia have become so unpleasant for residents to find parking, many have stopped going, and Wailuku has long suffered from a parking shortage. In 2014, the County of Maui began researching ways to manage congestion in Wailuku and Lahaina, but during the pandemic the scope of that research grew to include popular tourist destinations like beaches and cultural parks.
In 2018, the County of Maui Department of Public Works, in conjunction with the Department of Planning, commissioned Dixon Resources Unlimited to examine and recommend parking solutions for Lahaina Town and Wailuku Town. This Parking Action Plan addressed the unique parking and mobility challenges that each town faces.
Fast forward to today, and the County of Maui, through its PARK MAUI program, is focused on pro-actively addressing solutions for County-owned parking at beaches and parks, and the most heavily utilized areas in small towns throughout our island.
“Having assisted many tourist destination communities, we often hear about the feeling of getting squeezed out of your own local spots. Managing parking can go a long way towards regaining control. The goal of a parking program is so the local community feels they are in the driver’s seat and are allowing visitors into the special places of the County on their terms.”
In the initial Pilot phase 1, the County and community stakeholders will address parking needs and solutions at beach parks, specifically, Ulua/Mokapu Beach and Kamaole III. These two locations were selected to test the system due to the ease of installation of parking equipment at these parks. The County expects to evaluate the results of two pilot locations within the first three months, and make refinements to the program to ensure it is made as easy and user-friendly as possible while accomplishing the goal of improving access. These lessons are expected to be applied throughout South and West Maui beach park locations as timing, funding and permitting allows. To assist the County in prioritizing the next phases of beaches and parks to be included in the program, please share your feedback.
Phase 2 of the Pilot program will focus on the small towns of Lahaina and Wailuku. These parking locations were selected due to the large number of employees competing for limited parking with visitors and businesses. Similarly to the Beaches and Parks locations, future projects may be added to the program following fine tuning from lessons learned in the pilot Small Towns & Public Parking areas phase. To assist the County in prioritizing the next phases of Small Towns & Public Parking to be included in the program, please share your feedback.
After the Pilot program, the County will be looking at other island locations where parking solutions need to be addressed.
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