Ask the Mayor: Bike Trail Expansion Opportunities on Maui
The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.
By Mayor Alan Arakawa
Q: Are there any plans for expansion of bike trails (not bike lanes) on Maui? One need exists between the airport bike trail and the Baldwin Beach bike trail, on the side of the Hāna Highway. Another great location would be adjacent to Highway 30 on the West side between the train yard and the Maui Preparatory Academy, on the old abandoned pineapple haul roads. Riding in a bike lane alongside heavy traffic is dangerous as there are lots of trucks and distracted drivers. Thank you.
A: Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, we are actively planning for several bike path projects including the final segment of the Airport to Pāʻia bike path, which is currently in the Environmental Assessment process. Final design and construction are expected to be completed in the next two years.
It’s important to note that in general, bike paths are more difficult to implement due to the need for more land; however, some cyclists prefer them for the greater degree of separation from traffic they often provide.
The State of Hawaii and the County of Maui follow the Bike Plan Hawaiʻi, which was last updated in 2004. This plan, which was reviewed by the public, allows us to plan for bike improvements like the projects you mention. An update to the plan is needed soon, and I met recently with some bicycling advocates to address top concerns.
The closure of the railroad in Lahaina certainly does present an opportunity for a rails-to-trails facility. Much of the railroad runs on private lands, as well as through some county and state-owned property. This is an excellent opportunity that an update to the Bike Plan can address, as well as the upcoming West Maui Community Plan.
I anticipate an advisory group will be established soon that will advise my administration on next steps in the planning, design, construction and maintenance aspects of bike facilities. Another important aspect of the advisory group will be education – not only of bike rider, but also the drivers who need to share the road with bikes and make bike lanes safer to use.
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.