Kahului road, sidewalk, bike-path improvements are on agenda

I invite the public to a community meeting for a presentation on Complete Streets and the Central Maui Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Lihikai School cafeteria in Kahului.

The General Plan advocates smart growth and walkable neighborhoods. To that end, my office has collaborated with the Maui County Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition (NPAC), in cooperation with the YMCA’s Pioneering Healthier Communities project and the Department of Public Works, to facilitate Wednesday night’s discussion.

Complete streets are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists of all ages and abilities.

Representatives from NPAC will provide information relating to the county’s Safe Routes to School program and Walk to School Days. Students should be able to safely walk or ride a bike to school every day.

The Central Maui Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan was completed in 2012 as part of the Healthy Hawaii Initiative’s efforts to encourage walking and bicycling in Central Maui communities. Adequate sidewalks promote an active lifestyle and are key components of complete streets.

Ensuring that walking is a viable means of transportation also lessens dependence on motor vehicles and reduces carbon emissions.

Numerous studies have also shown well-designed streets and neighborhoods that facilitate all modes of transportation provide economic benefits – which is of particular importance to me as chair of the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee. Relatedly, smart growth minimizes sprawl and, thus, protects open space and farmlands.

Promoting healthy eating and physical activity is the main mission of meeting co-sponsor NPAC, whose members have testified to the council in support of the development of active-living communities.

Light refreshments will be available, and event partners will give away two bikes, with helmets, to children in attendance. For more information about the meeting, please contact my staff at 270-5501 or email neldon.mamuad@mauicounty.us.

As the county continues to modernize infrastructure, road construction in my residency area of Kahului is an increasingly common occurrence.

For instance, motorists are currently being redirected from Wakea Avenue because of road improvements. The project is slated for completion in December.

Pavement improvements on Kamehameha Avenue, from Puunene to Papa avenues, are also underway, and will likely continue through January. Families with students going to Kahului Elementary School may be affected by the work along portions of Hina Avenue.

I am grateful for the support of my colleagues on the County Council and for federal funding that make possible economically and environmentally beneficial infrastructure improvements in Kahului and throughout the county.

Hope to see you Wednesday night.

* Don S. Guzman holds the County Council seat for the Kahului residency area. He is the chair of the Economic Development, Energy, Agriculture and Recreation Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.