Some waaay cool stuff has been going on in Kaua‘i that other communities could follow. Various communities across the island are working together to define and build multi-use paths in their regions.
Kauai Path, Inc, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit advocacy organization, serves as a central coordinator and is working with Kaua‘i residents to preserve, protect and extend access via non-motorized multi-use paths for communities on Kaua‘i.
A board of directors leads Kauai Path, and several interest groups participate in various committees that report to the board. These committees manage such aspects as the Path Ambassadors and Friends of the Path programs, fund raising, volunteer activities, outreach and planning.
A multi-use path or trail is typically separated from the roadway for use by bicyclists, pedestrians, skaters, runners, dog walkers, and others using non-motorized modes of transportation. Most contemporary multi-use trails are designed in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and so are handicap accessible, except as noted.
The proposed path networks are not envisioned as the widening of our existing roadways. Rather, they are seen as separate greenways or “linear parks,” isolated from roadways to the greatest extent possible, where people can safely ride to work, walk to school, push baby carriages and exercise with friends through tranquil settings.
The benefits to communities of a multi-use path system are many:
- Reduction of Automobiles & Emissions
- Increased Social Engagements
- Health, Recreation & Fitness
- Reduced Dependence on Fossil Fuels
- Quality of Life
- Safe Routes to School
- Tsunami Evacuation
- Smart Growth-Integrated Land Use & Transportation Solutions
For visioning purposes, Kauai Path divides the island into four major segments, North Shore, East Side, South Shore and West Side. These respective communities have been working together on their respective needs, designs, and locations for their community paths.
The North Shore community recently released a North Shore Path Alternatives Report. (http://nspath.kauaistyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NSPAR_final.pdf)
The East Side calls their path system “Ke Ala Hele Makalae” (“The Path that Goes by the Coast”) and has completed phases that generally follow the coast and eventually will link Nawiliwili to Anahola.
As of early 2012, there is approximately seven completed miles of Ke Ala Hele Makalae. One section meanders through and connects Lydgate Beach Park to Wailua Beach Park, and the rest links Kapa‘a to Ahihi Point. Construction to connect those two sections, and to extend the path into the Kawaihau Road residential area, is currently under way.
On the South Shore, the community’s primary project is implementation of the comprehensive Kōloa Poʻipū Area Circulation Plan ( http://www.charlier.org/index.php?id=19,180,0,0,1,0 ).
That plan includes bicycle and pedestrian improvements to Hapa Trail, a two-mile long roadway that directly links Kōloa town to the Poʻipū Beach area. It was basically abandoned when Poʻipū Road was developed in the 1950s.
Associated with this, Holo Holo Kōloa Scenic Byway was recently named a State Scenic Byway and is in the process of developing a Corridor Management Plan. That plan will identify and address additional multi-modal alternatives in the area.
We are working with the Kōloa /Poʻipū communities in preparing the Corridor Management Plan for the Scenic Byway.
Earlier this year, the West Side Path Alternatives Report was distributed to the community. That plan identifies several potential alternative routes within and connecting the communities of Waimea and Kekaha. (http://www.kauaipath.org/files/content/WS_Path_Alternatives.pdf)
These programs are part of Mayor Carvalho’s Holo Holo 2020 vision whose goals may be achieved by creating these alternative transportation modes for all communities on Kaua‘i.
Complementing this is the County’s Kaua‘i Multimodal Land Transportation Plan. This project is in the process of developing a comprehensive plan (coordinated with the Hawai‘i DOT Land Transportation Plan) for public transit, bicycling, pedestrians and vehicular traffic on County roads.
There is a lot we can learn from the Kaua‘i community from this important project. More images are added to a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.