Maui News Weekend Editorial Grades the State Dept of Education

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Alternative Transportation, Education, Government, KCA Members | 0 comments

10/8/22  #kihei

While we have given them “F” every semester for past few years, here is what the editors of the Maui News had to offer:

Grading the DOE

Some day, the state Department of Education (DOE) will receive its final report card for Kulanihako’i High School’s grade-separated crossing in Kihei.

On a pass/fail basis, the DOE will fail if a student is killed while crossing Pi’ilani Highway or traversing one of the highway’s nearby bridges. It will also deserve failing marks if crosswalks at the new two-lane roundabout cause traffic to back up for miles.

Two weeks ago, the DOE presented options for the pedestrian crossing during a meet and greet in the Lokelani Intermediate School cafeteria. Options included overpasses, a precast underpass that would involve digging a deep trench across Pi’ilani Highway and a walkway beneath an existing bridge at Waipuilani Gulch.

Kihei community members we spoke with said the DOE’s presentation left them feeling “disappointed,” “frustrated” and like they “just can’t trust the process.”


Ludicrous examples look nothing like anything in Kihei. What is motivation to use these alternatives?

The frustrations have been building for years in Kihei. The state Land Use Commission’s (LUC) requirement for a grade-separated crossing dates back to 2013. Now, with the school set to open in January and the LUC still holding its feet to the fire, the DOE has trotted out proposals that it says will take between three and a half to seven and a half years to complete. A band-aid solution of busing is proposed for the interim.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the DOE will grudgingly install an elevated crosswalk spanning Pi’ilani Highway. If that is the case, let’s make sure they build something that is both functional and attractive. No mailing it in from Oahu.

This top-down approach is a big part of the frustration in Kihei. People with the worst traffic in America are making decisions about what level of pain South Maui can tolerate. And they are not listening to what residents are saying.

If they were, they would know that roundabouts are traffic solutions, not pedestrian solutions. They would also know that getting across the highway is just the final step in what may be an arduous journey for kids on foot and bike. Does the DOE really expect students from the Ohukai Road and Kaiwahine Street neighborhoods to cross the highway twice?

Any official who has a say in deciding which option is chosen should be required to visit the bridges at Waipuilani and Kulanihakoi to experience how dangerous their three-foot-wide bike paths are for pedestrians and cyclists. No student should be induced to cross these bridges to reach school.

Kihei folks have penciled out how to build a pedestrian walkway from Ohukai Road to the school for just over $1 million. We’re sure they would be willing to share.

At this point, the DOE is staring at an incomplete grade. It has lost points in the categories of: “Turns work in on time,” and “Communicates well with others.” An A-plus may be out of reach, but there is certainly time for improved effort and cooperation.


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Next Community Meeting

Tuesday, May 21
6:30 pm

ProArts Playhouse, Azeka Makai
1280 S. Kihei Road

Pacific Disaster Center, Kihei

Dr. Erin Hughey, Director of Global Operations

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC Global) is an applied research center managed by the University of Hawaii that supports the most demanding governmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide in helping to create a safer, more disaster resilient world. For more than 25 years, we’ve helped our partners enhance disaster management capacity, save lives, and reduce disaster losses through the application of our advanced tools and technologies, evidence-based research, and analytical information.

As always, we will be collecting donations for the MAUI FOOD BANK.  They can stretch a dollar like no one else so checks sealed in envelopes are also welcome.

KCA's Priorities 2024

  • Fire prevention
    Working with agencies, landowners, and the community to form a Fire Prevention Task force for South Maui and pass along requests and recommendations between that group and the community
  • Flooding mitigation
    Working with Public Works, upcountry landowners, and flood control experts to reduce the risk of flooding in South Maui
  • North-South Collector Road
    Advocating the completion of the next segments of the North-South Collector Road between Waipuilani and Kaonoulu
  • WasteWater Initiatives
    Supporting efforts to speed the replacement of cesspools in Maui Meadows with clean water alternatives and advocating for identification and treatment of pollution from failing pipes at major hotels and condo developments
  • Healthy Living through Smart Growth
    Supporting efforts to make Kihei a walkable, bike able community with sidewalk and bikeway connectivity throughout, especially to all our schools including the new Kūlanihāko‘i High School. Supporting the implementation of the revised South Maui Community Plan and the values it espouses
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KCA relies on your membership dues to accomplish our goals for a smartly planned community. Well-managed traffic, drainage, safe walking and biking routes, community parks and clean ocean water are just a few agenda items.  You can help shape our future by renewing or joining KCA today. Have time and a desire to make a difference? The KCA board seeks new volunteers to help with projects and carry the torch into the future. Please contact KCA to ask how you can be of service to our community.

To see what our future community may look like, check out Dick Mayer’s presentation on the developments planned for South Maui.

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KCA's mission statement

The objects and purposes of the corporation shall be to encourage, promote and aid in developing, improving and maintaining the area of Kihei, Island and County of Maui, as a desirable residential community; to develop unified community spirit; to do any and all things to promote the health, safety and welfare of residents within the Kihei area; to encourage recreation and service programs, and programs to enhance social life and community welfare within the Kihei area; to promote better understanding and fellowship among its members, their families and all residents of the Kihei area.

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