Wailuku Business Owner Analyzes Parking

Printed in the Maui New
Written by By SUSAN HALAS, a Wailuku Business Owner

We all agree that Wailuku wants and needs more parking. We also agree that we would like to see a minimum of 200 new stalls added to Wailuku town parking right away.

What we do not agree on is that the five-story structure proposed by the Maui Redevelopment Agency at an estimated cost of $17.5 million for 419 stalls is the right solution or the right location.

It’s time for Plan B.

If you’ve followed the progress of this Taj Mahal, you know that there is a viable plan to relocate the existing 210 parking spaces in the municipal lot to other nearby sites while the proposed garage is built. Those other sites will contain at least 200 more spaces.

Wouldn’t it be less expensive and more beneficial to immediately go to that plan? If we know where the lots are and we know that we can use them, why not use them now and forget about building that ugly, costly monstrosity?

A good place to start would be by reading the Wailuku Town Parking Study and Parking Management Plan Analysis dated May 31, 2011, by Andrew W. Miller. This Michigan consultant produced it for the county and for once we really got our money’s worth. It is an excellent, clear, concise document with many practical recommendations including revenue projections. I would be happy to send any reader a digital copy on request. I urge the administration, council and the public to read it.

Let’s do the math: There are presently 210 stalls in the existing municipal parking lot. The cost to leave it alone is $0, though it could use repaving and regular maintenance.

What does land cost? April 2011 sales for nearby fee simple vacant lots ran between $15 and $29 per square foot.

How much land does it take for one parking stall?

A licensed Maui civil engineer said the standard is 8.5 feet by 30 feet (including roadway). That totals 255 square feet per stall. Multiply by 200 and you get 51,000 square feet needed for 200 stalls. Multiply that by the going price and you get a range of $765,000 to $1,479,000 for land.

Now add the $13 per square foot needed for minimal paving and drainage improvements. That’s another $633,000.

Total it up and the estimated cost for 200 new parking stalls created by purchasing and improving other nearby Wailuku lots runs between $1.4 million and $2.1 million. The cost per stall runs from $7,190 to $10,710.

Plan B has many benefits: It costs a lot less and will provide more parking right away. It will leave the present lot, views and open space intact and will not inconvenience the residents, merchants and patrons of Wailuku town. It’s in line with current economic reality and there’s a good chance we can recover our investment.

Let’s compare that with the cost of stalls in the proposed MRA parking structure. Those 419 spots, if built, will cost $41,766 each. But since 210 stalls already exist we’re only adding 209 new spaces. If you look at it that way, the real cost of the MRA project is $83,732 per stall.

That does not count the time and inconvenience to all of us during the estimated 18 months to three years it will take to build it. And no matter what is charged for parking in that building, we’ll never get our money back.

If you do the math it just doesn’t work out.

The MRA is on record as favoring the giant, expensive five-story building. It’s clear that MRA members are not living in the real world where money is even tighter than parking. Everything they’ve done in the last 10 years has taken away parking, not added parking. The more than $1 million they’ve spent in planning could have produced actual parking, instead we’ve got lots of paper.

I’m putting my faith in our mayor and our County Council. They’re the ultimate decision-makers and they can count.

Want more parking? Speak up. Ask for Plan B – more parking, real parking, parking we can afford, parking we can have right away.

This article references a recent parking study done for the County of Maui: Click link: Wailuku Parking Study & Parking Mgt Analysis Plan to read the study.

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