Q: I have recently become aware of various colored headlights of vehicles when driving at night. The colors range from light yellow (which I think is the standard) to a bright orange, light to darker blue and even a turquoise color. I thought if anyone can answer my question, you can (I enjoy reading your column in The Maui News). So can you please tell me if there is a county or state agency regulating this matter of colored headlights? And will use of these colored lights pass safety inspection?
A: Some vehicles may be equipped with high-intensity discharge headlamps, which are in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. At certain distances or angles, these HID headlamps may appear to have a colored or blue appearance; however, at close range, they emit a white light. Other headlights that do not emit a white light should not pass safety inspection. Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 291-25 (b) require motor vehicle headlamps to "display white light." On a federal level, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has regulated headlamp bulbs since about 1983. The NHTSA approved federal rules requiring the color of both the lower-beam headlamps and upper-beam headlamps to be "white." The official State of Hawaii safety inspector's manual for "Inspectors of Passenger Cars and Light Trucks" references the federal rules as a standard. Thus, in order for the car to pass safety inspection, the color of the headlamp beams must be white. According to the HRS, any motor vehicle not properly equipped with lights in conformity with this section is prohibited from use from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise. Violations carry a fine of not more than $10. Each violation shall be deemed a separate offense, and a subsequent violation of the same provision within a one-year period shall be subject to twice the fine imposed upon the prior conviction.
Q: What is up with those ugly white plastic posts near Pioneer Inn and the Banyan Tree? They were put up to designate no-parking zones, but why not put in concrete islands with plants?
A: Plans are taking shape to improve the area around Lahaina Harbor and Banyan Tree Park through a county-funded grant received by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. LRF recently concluded the concept phase of "The Imagine Project," which included several months of public meetings to gather ideas and priorities for the area. The project covers the area between Lahaina Harbor and Front Street, and Market Street to Canal Street. The public input received during the concept phase identified several main areas of interest: emphasizing cultural and historic sites in the area; easing traffic congestion, managing the resources in the area; making the area safer for all users; and beautifying the area. A final report will be issued soon, and will be available online at www.lahainarestoration.org.
Q: Driving from Kaanapali, within a few feet of a handsome Lahaina entry sign, sits an ugly concrete block building that obstructs what would be a beautiful view of the ocean. After the construction in the area is completed, are there plans to take down the building and beautify the area?
A: The building you refer to is part of a small baseyard utilized by the West Maui district of the Department of Parks and Recreation. It also happens to be situated in the area where the Department of Environmental Management is working on a force main replacement project. Once the construction is finished, the building is targeted for a mini-facelift, which will include paint and other aesthetic upgrades until a new location for a West Maui parks baseyard can be identified, funding secured and a facility built to house the tools and equipment used to maintain county parks in West Maui.
* Want to Ask the Mayor? Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Alan Arakawa by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., 9th floor, Wailuku, 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the "Ask the Mayor" column; to request a personal response to a concern, email email@example.com.