POSTED: 16 November 2005 - 7:30pm HST

Ke Alanui Paikikala o Kauai

Bottleneck A: Approaching bridge with guardrails east of Lawai. Note "safety" area narrows to nothing

What's next for bikes on Kauai?
by Juan Wilson on 15 November 2005

I and Jonathan Jay ( have been discussing what might be the best approach to furthering the goal of safe and extensive bike riding opportunities on Kauai.

We discussed several things that need to be done. Here is a list of a few.

review current state, county and private efforts to enhance biking on Kauai. Besides the recreational path that has been planned from Nawiliwili to Anahola there have been other ambitious plans, but those plans have resulted in little or nothing. There are state plans like and private organizations like the Hawaiian Bicycle League

HBL is a membership driven organization. One of our principal missions is to support and promote a safe and desirable bicycling environment on behalf of Hawaii's bicycle riders. We accomplish this by working with transportation agencies, lobbying the legislative and executive branches of government, testifying at hearings, and providing education programs in safe cycling and walking. We invite you to join us in this effort, which is not only productive, but is also an interesting learning experience in the workings of government. HBL's organization for implementing this effort is the Community Affairs Committee.
We are guided in our governmental efforts by several general policies that:

* Bicycles are legitimate, non-polluting, healthful means of transportation and deserve appropriate consideration in planning and funding transportation infrastructure.
* Roadway systems are for transportation of people, and therefore must be designed to accommodate safe shared use by bicyclists and pedestrians.
* Mass transportation systems are an integral form of public transportation, and need to incorporate travelers using bicycles at either or both ends of the transit system.
* Roadway systems need to be maintained for safe use by bicycles and pedestrians.
* Speed limits and traffic safety laws must be designed to provide for safe roadway use by people including people on bicycles and pedestrians.
* Both bicycle riders and automobile drivers require education to achieve roadway safety.
* Adequate public funding must be provided for bike-ways, bike routes, and multi-use routes separate from motor vehicle roadways where appropriate.
* The primary riding medium for bicycles will remain our roadway system, and HBL will defend the rights of cyclists to use all appropriate public roads in a safe, legal fashion.

In carrying out these policies, HBL staff and members initiate and review plans and legislation concerning roadways, land use, and the transportation system. We attend public meetings, participate in planning, and work with responsible agencies to improve the bicycling environment. We also work with city council members and legislators to draft legislation and testify before committees. Please join us and help make our communities safer and more livable for everyone.


examine the private land of large property owners with ready made opportunities for bicycling and find a way to encourage those owners to make such things as cane roads available to bikes. Working with a Conservation Trust or other group willing to help with liability issues would be something to investigate.

Major property owners on Kauai as provided by the Hawaii State DBEDT

Note that between Waimea and Lihue there are only four significant property owners (with the exception of Kalaheo). If the Robinson Family (orange), Alexander & Baldwin (brown), E A Knudsen Trust (tan) and Grove Farm (purple) could agree to letting bikes on their canefield roads a lot could be accomplished.

survey existing highway conditions and see where there are severe problems and dangerous conditions. On Halloween I had reason to drive from Hanapepe to Wailua Homesteads. I took several digital images along the way and came to realize the great number of lethally dangerous biking conditions there are along our public highways.

Bottleneck B: Approaching the "Tree Tunnel" Road from the west. Note stone bridge with no margin

In many cases older bridges that carry the main highway over small streams are so narrow that the area one might safely ride a bike with passing traffic is reduced to nothing. In many cases Approaching these bridges the distance between the steel safety railing and the white shoulder stripe is narrow already. As the bridge looms that space is often reduced to just inches... too narrow to even walk safely, much less ride a bike. See illustration Bottleneck A & B.

Other cases that frequently create dangerous conditions are when ground cover grows over the safety margin and reaches the white shoulder stripe. This creates sudden situations where there is no place to go but into the traffic. I will volunteer to take the Kaumaalii Highway from Kekaha to Lihue to document (with pictures and mileage markers) the places unfriendly to bikes. There any volunteers for the East and North sides?

Bottleneck C: approaching Opaekaa Falls thereis no bikespace and there can be crossing tourists




Ke Alanui Paikikala o Kauai

2 November 2005 - 11:30am

a proposed bumper sticker for a new bikeway effort on Kauai

Kauai Bike Network: Pole Hale to Kee Beach - Let's Get On It!
by Juan Wilson 2 November 2005

The day after our last article on the subject of bike path, a man was tragically killed on his bike in Wailua on the Kuhio Highway. To read more about it visit:

To my knowledge he has not yet been identified. That someone could be the victim of a hit and run and left like roadkill by the side of the highway is sad example of why a dedicated bike path is so important to present day Kauai.

There are few roads that can accommodate anything but car traffic. Even walking in residential neighborhoods is taking your life in your hands, particularly at night. There are few sidewalks anywhere on the island.

The State of Hawaii has a master plan for bikeways. To see it visit:

Within this state wide effort is a plan for Kauai. It states that Bike Plan Hawaii 2003 is a state Department of Transportation master plan to create a guide for enhancing the bicycling environment through a variety of channels - from grassroots initiatives to government actions. The plan recognizes that bicycle facilities have become integral to our state and city transportation infrastructure.

Well, this stuff has been kicking around for a decade an just about nothing has been done. The planned Nawiliwili to Anahola effort will be the first major step on Kauai but it does not address the current and constant danger to those who ride bikes and walk the roads of Kauai.

Many may perceive the biking community as effete snobs 2ith $3,000 Canondale bikes who want to perambulate as a mere recreation. There may be some of those people around, but there are more important reasons as well.

Health, safety and vitality are good reasons.
There are many who would love to bicycle from one town to another on the island rather than take their cars but they don't dare get on the highway, even in broad daylight. Hawaii suffers from wide scale obesity problems. We have to drive everywhere for everything.

Economics and the environment are good reasons as well.
As gasoline becomes prohibitively expensive for many, alternatives to driving private automobiles must be accommodated. Some are predicting $10 a gallon gasoline within a year. Moreover, even here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean we are contributing to global warming and climate change when we leave our two ton Hummers idling with AC on full while we pick up our mail.

Tourism and traffic are good reasons too.
It is irresponsible to offer Kauai as a place where a visitor might take a family bike ride. We just don't have the capacity to do it safely. If you want to visit this island you better rent a car. If Kauai offered a network of scenic bikepaths of the highway we would have a world class tourist attraction that would improve island traffic jams.

Bullshit and the Real Deal
Just painting a white line along the side of a narrow high speed highway and calling it a "Bike Path" does not constitute a solution to our safety, energy and obesity problems.

The next steps should be to:

- bring the state master plan up to date.

- inventory the existing highway danger spots and begin fixing them

- get the county to accept the goal of an island wide bike network

- to make future engineering projects meet these goals

If you are interested in getting this thing off the ground contact either:

Let's get on it!



An incremental bike plan would be a good start

25 October 2005 - 8:00am

BAD DESIGN: This photo from a South Carolina highway is the worst kind of bike path - none.

One simple and very step that could be taken concerning future bike path construction RIGHT NOW. This step would be to ensure that all road-bed modification, and bridge construction FROM THIS POINT ON be forward compatible with any future likely bicycle pathway. This would in effect initiate an immediate piecemeal beginning of a comprehensive island-wide green-way network. Other wise, we are continuing to invest all of our eggs in one basket - the failing policies of the past that only provided support for by private automobile travel.

A good example would be the recent Olohena Bridge replacement, and the two mile section of new road-bed and repaving. For the 5+ million dollars spent re-constructing the previous, and dangerous, shoulderless road, there should have been three or four feet of shoulder added to each side, to bring the road into transportation code compliance for a primary county arterial, This as well would have allowed a small strip of safer passage for existing cyclists on this road.

Also, this would be a substantial step in getting ready for a future where a comprehensive network of cycle pathways will exist across the island and folks will not literally forced at all times to travel by car if they want to go somewhere.

An unsustainable Kauai is a Kauai with no future.

GOOD DESIGN: Even on crowded Manhattan Island there has been room to separate people from cars



POSTED: 22 October 2005 - 11:00pm HST

It's time for a comprehensive biking plan for Kauai

The dedicated bike path next to Polpis Road to Siasconset on the eastern shore of Nantucket Island, MA

by Juan Wilson 22 October 2005

I cannot understand the critics of the development of a bike/walkway from Nawiliwili to Anahola. In the most heavily trafficked corridor on Kauai, it seems incomprehensible that this shoreline pathway could be seen is as anything but an improvement for Kauai traffic and quality of life.

Is there a future for the economy of Kauai if we rely building more roads so more residents can commute by car and more visitors can tour by rental car? The inevitable rise in the price of fuel will soon make clear that a comprehensive plan to move about on Kauai by mass transit and under one's own power is a necessity and the sooner implemented thee better off Kauai will be.

It is time that Kauai embraces the idea of supporting a comprehensive bike path plan that would link from Poli Hale to Kee Beach with a safe path for pedestrians and bicyclers to travel anywhere on the island of Kauai.

This would be a commitment requiring time, money and effort that will have great benefit to residence and visitors. I believe it could be one of the most important item on the agenda of our public officials.

Although a comprehensive bike path plan would be difficult, it is easy to do here and now compared to areas where there is heavy development or where winter weather makes maintenance very difficult.

With our balmy weather and rural landscape much of the bike path system would be easy to implement and cheap to maintain. There would certainly be places where topography and roadside development would make bike paths more challenging.

I call for the Planning Department to begin identifying the best routes for bikeways and for the County Government to commence negotiating with large property owners for easements.

This is not something that has not been done in the past on other islands. Nantucket is a primary example of good bike planning. All the outlying communities are connected by dedicated bike paths to the central hub that parallel the primary roads. The primary roads are all served by shuttle buses. Once in the hub of Nantucket town many of the streets are cobblestone. It is a wonderful pedestrian environment.

I vacationed every year for a decade in the mid 1980's on Nantucket and never bothered to rent a car while there. Many of the outer bike paths are beautifully and naturally landscaped. In many places the bike paths meander away from the passing cars. It is safe for families and even toddlers new to biking to ride these paths.

For a suggestion on planning at a national level read
Island Breath: Kunstler on Rails