It’s been on, then off, then back on again and not it seems it’s off again, though it may come back on… again… sometime… maybe. It’s the proposed Wailuku Municipal Parking Structure, people, and though county planners were touting it as a done-deal barely a year ago, it’s now deader than Joe Bertram’s political career.
Seriously, they’ve been planning this thing for years, which was supposed to replace the current 210-space Wailuku Municipal Parking Lot with a 426-space parking garage. In fact, the county has already spent about $1.2 million of federal money on designs (of course, with the federal debt running at close to $16 trillion, $1.2 million is couch change). And now it’s no more.
“There are no funds available for construction right now, and I don’t see in the foreseeable future that coming through,” Maui County Public Works Director David Goode (who used to be a land developer and Public Works Director under previous administrations) said in the Aug. 18 Maui News.
For those of us who haven’t successfully incorporated public transportation into our lives, the parking lot is a sad fact of life. Originally built on land the County of Maui seized through eminent domain, the current Wailuku lot fills up every weekday before 8am with cars mostly belonging to county employees (MauiTime rents office space in a building that borders the parking lot). During most days, Maui Police Officer Keith Taguma rumbles through the lot on his new Harley-Davidson Motor Trike, chalking tires and writing tickets that impose greater fines than those incurred by parking more than two hours on nearby streets.
Seriously, think about that last paragraph a moment. A County of Maui police officer gives out an insane number of parking tickets every day to County of Maui employees who work for and with the people trying to develop a larger parking garage in Wailuku. And this has gone on, without interruption, for years.
“[W]hoever has control over that lot has the moral obligation to do what’s best for the public’s interest,” then-Maui Redevelopment Agency (MRA) Vice Chairman Lloyd Poelman said six years ago, at a June 21, 2006 MRA hearing on–you guessed it!–proposals to develop the Wailuku lot into a parking garage.
And I didn’t even mention the insanity of building a parking garage on the site of the only really accessible parking lot in town. Where the people who currently use the park were supposed to park during the year and a half of construction (assuming all goes well) was the biggest unanswered question at every planning hearing on the thing.
Seriously, there were no better places in Wailuku Town to build a garage? There’s an abandoned federal building across the street from the county’s Kalana O Maui building, but little discussion of why site would or wouldn’t work for even a scaled down parking site.
So in conclusion, nothing much will change in Wailuku Town. Unless the county decides they want to start discussions on a big parking garage, in which case we’ll begin again like none of this ever happened.