Emergency Rubber Cone Shortage Declared on Maui


Record-high on-island demand and continuing supply-chain woes are blamed for an alarming shortage of rubber cones for Maui streets and parking lots.

“We’re afraid that Mauians are just going to have to learn to better use the cones we have now,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino announced via the county’s 11th news release on Thursday. “We have heard from the cone industry that shipments of new rubber cones are not expected until around February.”

With the announcement, residents in Kahului already scavenged as many orange cones as possible from their garage and side yards to protect their parkways from unwanted parkers.

“Sure the cones look kind of silly all lined up on the strip of grass between the street amd sidewalk, but if we didn’t do this, who knows how many Tacomas would be parked halfway on the curb and half blocking the sidewalk?” said Joe Pinoy from his corner house on La’au Street near Maui High School.

“We need 3 cones each at the front bumper and back bumper because the streets are way too narrow,” said Eileen Wright of Molokai Akau Street. “People around here don’t know how to drive. Our cars have been dinged 11 times already.”

The National Orange Rubber Cone Industry Association based in Portland has been warning the County of Maui for months that local residents are hoarding way too many of the portable safety devices.

In fact, a study last year by NORCIA found that Maui leads the world in possession of orange rubber cones per capita.

“There’s an orange rubber cone shortage around the world right now, exacerbated by all the supply chain muck-ups caused by government incompetence during the pandemic,” said Peter Hoy, executive director of the cone industry association. “And Maui alteady has way more cones than it needs, per our study.”

Already county officials are mulling whether to postpone the grand opening if the new roundabout in Kihei, on a busy highway right next to a huge brand new high school.

State transportation planners, who designed and approved the traffic circle for that location, ordered a million orange rubber cones in preparation to ease neighbors fears about thousands of impatient commuters criss-crossing with thousands of teenaged pedestrians every weekday.

“We have a pretty good plan for safety on the roundabout for when it opens,” said Jay King of the state Department of Transportation in Honolulu. “We just need a lot more orange rubber cones.”

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