Community receives update on Wailuku Town improvement projects
WAILUKU, Maui, HI – The County of Maui, Department of Management presented the construction schedule for the Wailuku Town improvement projects and detailed its efforts to minimize impacts on the surrounding neighborhood during a community meeting Thursday night at Iao Theater.
Over 130 residents, businesses, public officials and community stakeholders attended the department’s meeting that followed a question-and-answer session back in April. The department presented its updated plans Thursday night, which included construction mitigations during Phase 1 of the project and re-evaluating Phase 2.
“Based upon neighborhood feedback and community input, the Wailuku Town improvements will be implemented in phases to minimize the impact on local residents and commuter traffic,” said Erin Wade, Maui County planner and project administrator. “Phase 1A will focus on the infrastructure improvements on Church and Vineyard streets as well as Wells Park. Phase 1B will include access road improvements and construction of the new parking structure.”
Brian Ige, construction manager for Dowling Company, presented the latest plans and construction schedule for the improvements. He explained that the exploratory phase has been completed and work can now move forward on the improvements.
“The County has asked that at least one lane access remain open at all times during construction,” Ige said. “They also have requested us to keep as much parking open as possible to the public.”
Improvements on Church and Vineyard streets include: upgraded water and sewer lines; a new storm drain system; overhead power and telecom lines placed underground; new sidewalks; street trees; and a new road surface. Church Street also will be converted to a two-way street and a traffic signal will be added at the intersection of Main and Church streets.
Construction on Church Street will begin in August and will take approximately six months to complete, with work starting from Main Street and heading up to Vineyard Street. On lower Vineyard Street, construction is scheduled to begin in January 2020 and is anticipated to take six months, with crews starting from Market Street and working toward Church Street.
Construction on upper Vineyard Street is slated to begin in June 2020 and will take approximately six months to complete, with work starting from Church Street up to High Street.
The entire municipal parking lot will remain open through December, but portions will need to be closed during work from January to October 2020. The parking lot will need to be completely closed starting in November 2020 to construct the parking structure, though, temporary parking lots will be designated at Wells Park, War Memorial Stadium and other nearby areas.
The department is reviewing plans and estimates for a free transportation shuttle between the temporary parking areas and Wailuku Town. The temporary parking areas and shuttle schedules plan to be finalized by September 2019.
The new four-level parking structure features 428 stalls (compared to 214 stalls in the current municipal parking lot), including 40 electric vehicle charging stations and wiring to add 40 more stations in future. The structure is designed to minimize grading and its high-ceiling and lighting provide better visibility for users.
Security cameras will be installed inside and along access walkways, and the upper floors will be secured after hours. The ground floor will remain open to the public and support farmers markets and festivals.
Vehicles will enter the new parking structure from Church Street and Market Street. A vendor will operate the parking structure with a percentage of fees collected going back to the County.
For Phase 2 of the Wailuku Town improvement projects, Mayor Victorino announced that the County is re-evaluating the original concept, which featured a civic complex with office space and an open plaza. He said the County is looking at reducing the size and massing of the building, while considering the unique design elements of the district.
“We have heard from the community and are committed to modifying this project so it is more in tune with the neighborhood,” Mayor Victorino said. “We also are exploring outside funding sources and possible public-private partnerships.”
“I do want to ensure, however, that this building can serve as an emergency shelter, considering Maui County has very few that have hurricane-rated construction,” Mayor Victorino continued. “I prefer this project be hurricane and tropical storm proof, have backup generators and fulfill the safety needs of our community.”
In an effort to assist with community outreach efforts, the County of Maui has hired the Wailuku-based firm of Linn Nishikawa & Associates. The firm will be assisting with communications on the improvement projects and promotions to convey the message that Wailuku Town is open for business. These efforts will include future community meetings, launching an informational website, direct mail, e-newsletters, social media, a parking app and other publicity efforts.