Candidates walking the walk

KAPA‘A — Candidates making a bid for political office had an opportunity to experience the proposed next phase of the multi-use path, October 22, 2010 on the Eastside.
Thomas Noyes of Kaua‘i Path said all candidates were invited to join representatives from the nonprofit and the county in actually walking the proposed route, which is currently in the planning and construction phases.

Photos and text  by Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island(below) Candidates running for political office experience the traffic at the Kuamo‘o Road pedestrian crossing during a walk spanning the Wailua Bridge to Lihi Park hosted by Kaua‘i Path, Friday. The proposed coastal path will run parallel with the traffic with a wall separating the cars from bikers and pedestrians in this area.



Phase III of Ke Ala Hele Makalae involves connecting the Lydgate Park path to the section that runs from Lihi Park to Kealia.
Noyes said the 2.1-mile path will run all on the makai, or seaward side, of Kuhio Highway. This is an alteration from the planned alignment visited by many of the same individuals two years ago.
The design nearing completion covers 2.1 miles with construction started in 2009 with no projected completion date, according to the Kaua‘i Path website. The section also includes a spur to Kawaihau Road.
“The path is a wonderful amenity for our island — a real win-win,” said Tim Bynum, a longtime path advocate who is seeking his third term on the Kaua‘i County Council. “This segment in particular will help ease traffic as visitors walk to dinner and shopping and spend days recreating on the path instead of driving.”
Bynum said everyone should be involved in planning to influence the outcome and avoid surprises.
Also participating in the event were: Bernard Carvalho Jr., Larry Fillhart, KipuKai Kuali‘i, Dee Morikawa, Mina Morita, Nadine Nakamura, Ken Taylor and Mel Rapozo, who was joined on the walk by his daughter Nicole, a student at Kapa‘a High School.
County representatives included Doug Haigh, chief of the Building Division, and Lenny Rapozo, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.
“The conceptual design is great,” said Fillhart, who is running for state District 15 representative. “I see two things: a comfort station about half-way seems perfect, but costly. The parking at the condominiums near Kintaro’s restaurant needs to be clarified.”
Noyes was joined by Kaua‘i Path board members Randy Blake MD, Esti Grinpas, and Dr. Mark Olson in collecting input and thoughts from the participating candidates.
Morita, who is running for state District 14 representative, said keeping the path on the makai side of the highway is “a much more attractive plan.”
Nakamura, a first-time council candidate, said she was happy to be given the opportunity to learn about Phase III.
“Once the connections are all in place, our people will truly have something great — not just for recreation, but also for a truly sustainable transportation alternative,” said Kuali‘i, who is seeking a council seat.
Noyes said the walk was made possible by funding from the Department of Health and Human Services and sponsored by Communities Putting Prevention to Work-Hawai‘i — improving healthy eating and healthy activities, creating jobs, and promoting sustainability on the islands of Kaua‘i and Maui.

Work on the Wailua Bridge continues in the background as Thomas Noyes of Kaua‘i Path provides an update on the path to candidates.

“We can already see how the existing multi-use paths at Lydgate and along Kapa‘a to Kealia are enhancing the health and well-being of our residents, boosting the economy, and increasing access to enjoyment of our coastline,” said Yukimura, a council candidate. “We need to build the next segments of the Eastside path and initiate new multi-use paths in other parts of the island — on the Westside, South Shore and North Shore.”
Morikawa, running for state District 16 representative, agreed.
“This is a great walk. A good way to begin making this a walkable community,” she said. “Now, let’s start planning for the Westside.”
There are paths planned for the North Shore connecting Moloa‘a to points beyond Hanalei; on the South Shore, covering the Hapa Trail; and the Westside, connecting ‘Ele‘ele to areas beyond Kekaha, according to the Kaua‘i Path website.
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• Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at (808) 245-3681 (ext. 253) or