The North Shore Greenway, a pedestrian and bike path from Kahului to Paia, is on its way to being completed after more than 20 years of planning, with the project's final phase under review for government permits.
Earlier this month, a draft environmental assessment and anticipated finding of no significant impact was released for the project's fourth phase. That is the portion of the 7-mile pathway that begins at Kanaha Beach Park in Kahului and ends in Paia town. Members of the public are invited to comment on the plans.
The final phase will stretch from Ulupua Place in Spreckelsville to Baldwin Beach Park, where the path will connect with the existing bike lane. The fourth phase runs along the makai side of Hana Highway. It will cross lands owned by Maui Country Club. The project will replace the current makai bike lane along Hana Highway, the environmental assessment said.
Jeff Horton rides his bicycle through Paia town Thursday afternoon. The resident has been riding his bicycle along Hana Highway for years and said that a bike lane is sorely needed, especially for children who ride their skateboards outside Baldwin Beach Park. Plans for a North Shore Greenway, a $1.75 million pedestrian and bike path from Kahului to Paia, are being reviewed in a draft environmental assessment needed for government permits. Horton said that bicyclists and others have no space to maneuver along the makai shoulder of Hana Highway. He said he has seen children swerve into the street to avoid parked cars backing up on to the highway. “I’m just concerned for the kids’ sake because nobody wants to see a child lost before something’s done,” he said. Construction of the greenway could begin in early 2016, with the project taking six to nine months to complete.
The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photo
The project's estimated construction cost is $1.75 million, according to the assessment. If all necessary approvals and entitlements are obtained, construction would begin in early 2016 with construction taking six to nine months.
The North Shore Greenway is a county Department of Works project, which has been ongoing, including earlier phases, for more than 20 years. The pathway project aims to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians by providing a safe lane for them to travel, the assessment said.
The path will be 8 feet wide, with "asphaltic concrete pavement." It will also be aligned approximately 7 feet from the pavement edge of Hana Highway.
The study showed there were some concerns by at least one Maui resident regarding the pathway being close to the highway as well as the potential for errant golf balls to fly toward the path and highway.
The study said that alternative routes had been considered, including a coastal route following the shoreline. But the assessment said there would be "potential adverse environmental impacts associated with the existing coastal sand dune, as well as potential effects to cultural resources."
The sand dune represents a "valued coastal resource" and "holds potential for encountering inadvertent burials." This is why a coastal path was eliminated as the preferred option.
In the chosen greenway route, a portion of the path would cross Kailua Stream where it nears Baldwin Park.
An existing 4.2-by-9.7-foot box culvert crosses under Hana Highway to allow storm-water runoff to go underneath the highway.
So, the project would need to include the installation of a way for the greenway to bridge Kailua Stream.
The assessment said there would be no sensitive natural resources that would be affected by the greenway and no rare, threatened or endangered species or their habitats would be adversely impacted.
Tobacco trees were observed in the project area. It is a non-native host of the endangered Blackburn's sphinx moth. Removal of any tobacco trees would be coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the assessment said.
The county may need a dozen more permits and/or approvals to proceed with the project.
Comments are being accepted on the draft environmental assessment until April 22.
Written comments should be sent to Department of Public Works Director David Goode, 200 S. High St., Wailuku 96793; and to Colleen Suyama, senior associate, Munekiyo & Hiraga Inc., 305 High St., Suite 104, Wailuku 96793.
The assessment can be found online at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov /default.aspx. Click on EA and EIS Online Library, then "Maui," and then click on the 2010 folder.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.