East Maui residents urge safety on the Road to Hana ahead of ‘Taro Fest’

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IslandNews – KITV.com

Original Link to News/Video: https://www.kitv.com/news/east-maui-residents-urge-safety-on-the-road-to-hana-ahead-of-taro-fest/article_00a01e46-feac-11ee-b7fa-131544591b3e.html

HANA, Hawai’i (Island News) — As organizers prepare for the East Maui Taro Festival this weekend, they are also reminding drivers to exercise caution on the roadway, as the popular “Road to Hana” is expected to see more traffic because of the event.

Because hundreds of drivers travel on the windy Hana Highway every day, East Maui residents constantly ask drivers to follow simple rules of the road:

  • Do not park illegally
  • Do not block the highway
  • Only visit designated state and county parks

“We’re expecting a lot of people to visit the road to Hana, and I guess we just want to make sure that everyone understands the code of conduct that is out there,” East Maui resident and event organizer Kamalani Pahukoa said.

Despite repeated reminders from East Maui residents, the community’s code of conduct for the roadway is often ignored.

Drone video Pahukoa provided captured the persistent problems, such as drivers parking illegally along the side of the road and

cars blocking traffic.

The clips also caught sightseers walking on the road.

“It’s a hazard, it’s dangerous,” Pahukoa asserted. “We have big rigs coming through, we have essential workers en route, and of course, our keiki and kupuna, they can be on buses or just coming home from the doctors, so it’s just one of those things where it’s a daily struggle.”

Promoting Safety and preventing traffic violations are some of the main goals for organizers of the event, commonly referred to as “Taro Fest.”

This year, the celebration will honor the people of Lahaina with an informational booth, free kalo and ‘ulu for families from the town, as well as mo’olelo (stories) of the historic and genealogical connection between the East and West sides.

“This is just another opportunity for us to bring each other together and celebrate one another, and just to offer help, services, and resources that we can share, trying to rebuild that community resilience,” Pahukoa added.

Taro Fest is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Hana Ballpark. Admission is free and the event will feature ku’i kalo (poi pounding), food booths, arts and crafts, music, and hula.