Led by Maui’s Healthy Eating + Active Living Coalition (HEAL) and Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Vision Zero Maui program is part of a nationwide movement that calls for safer streets for communities. The goal is to have zero traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries by 2040 while promoting safe, healthy mobility for everyone — and this can only be accomplished with commitment and collaboration of all levels of government and community.

Maui MPO is in the early phase of community outreach for the Vision Zero Maui Action Plan, and some landmark successes have already been celebrated. Mayor Michael Victorino’s October proclamation directed the formation of a Vision Zero Advisory Group to guide the plan. The group includes representatives from the mayor’s and prosecutor’s office; public works, planning, police, and fire departments; and from the state transportation and health departments. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Maui Bicycling League, and the American Association of Retired Persons are also represented.

Policy plays a major role in Vision Zero. Last year, thanks to Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura’s driving under the influence (DUI) tow bill, the Maui Police Department began to tow vehicles of drivers arrested for DUI. The initiative, meant to keep DUI offenders off our streets, has already prevented further collisions, thereby saving lives.

 

The important concept of safe street design came up during a Vision Zero Maui virtual town hall last month. State Department of Transportation Deputy Director Ed Sniffen explained how street design is changing to prioritize livability in neighborhoods. Good design can get drivers to slow down, especially in residential areas, by narrowing vehicle travel lanes and installing more visible crosswalks. With this new approach, safety is prioritized over motor vehicle speed and capacity. With funding support from the State Department of Health, Maui MPO has partnered with the county and HEAL on an upcoming Complete Streets Quick Build project to paint decorative curb extensions at an intersection in Kahului. This effort will build on last year’s successful project at the intersection of Oneheʻe and Uhu Streets where volunteers painted curb extensions that reduce crossing distance for pedestrians and slow motor vehicles. Scheduled for implementation in March 2021, the Papa Avenue Quick Build project will bring together a local artist, community members, planners, engineers and public health professionals to beautify an intersection and make it safer for kids to walk to school.

Vision Zero, Quick Build and all Maui MPO programs depend on community participation. Getting involved can be convenient and comes in many forms. Take the web map survey on the Vision Zero Maui webpage, where you can drop pins on problematic locations on the island’s roadways. Reach out on social media @mauimpo and sign up for our newsletter at www.mauimpo.org to receive important updates.

For more information on the HEAL Coalition for Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi, please contact the HEAL Community Coordinator Lauren Loor at lauren@hiphi.org.

Article written by Lauren Armstrong, Executive Director of Maui MPO & HEAL Coalition Maui County Built Environment Chair