‘Biking Before the Cars’ on New Airport Access Road
By Maui Now Staff
About 100 Maui bicyclists experienced the joy of riding on the new Airport Access Road—before cars were allowed on it—during a public ride organized by Maui Bicycling League, with support from the Hawaii Department of Transportation and the County of Maui.
The ride took place at 8 a.m., just prior to the road’s official public opening to cars at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
After a traditional blessing of the new road, adults, children, cyclists of all abilities and even an unicyclist pedaled down the new road along with Maui County Councilmembers Don Couch and Don Guzman, County Managing Director Keith Regan,Chief of Staff Herman Andaya, County Public Works Director David Goode and County Public Works Deputy Director Rowena Dagdag. Ferdinand Cajigal of State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, Dona Clayton of Na Ala Hele Maui Advisory and Maui Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Tumpap President were also in attendance to greet the cyclists and commemorate the road’s opening.
“This ride was a truly unique experience—an occasion that all of the participants will remember with a smile,” said Saman Dias, co-chair of Maui Bicycling League. “We are grateful to the State Department of Transportation for allowing us to have this special ride and to Rowena Dagdag of the Maui County Department of Public Works for helping to arrange this special event.”
“We are also immensely grateful to the Mayor’s office, the Maui County Department of Public Works and Councilmembers Don Couch and Don Guzman for their interest in developing solutions that will create a safer environment for all of Maui’s bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Dias.
“Our goal with this ride was to experience what it is like to bypass the congestion of Dairy Road along a roadway without traffic,” said Ceal Potts, Maui Bicycling League co-chair. “This was a one time opportunity— but we hope that it will highlight the importance of creating a bike path removed from the roadway along this route—such a path would provide a direct link between the Mokulele Bike Path and the Northshore Greenway, and effectively connect Kīhei to Kahului, on to Pā‘ia—all via a protected route away from cars.”
“By connecting the Northshore Greenway with the Mokulele Bike Path, we would be able to create a 14-mile protected bike route—the longest bike route in the State of Hawai‘i,” said Maui Bicycle League member Danny Boren. “And all it would take is adding in a 2-mile connecting path along the existing easement of this route to link these two great protected paths.”
The path would allow cyclists, runners, walkers and disabled users to bypass Dairy Road.
“Department of Health records show that it is 15 times more dangerous for a person to ride a bike on Dairy Road than on any other mile of road in Central Maui” said Dias. “We hope with the support of the County of Maui and the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, we will be able to alleviate this danger to cyclists by creating a protected route that bypasses Dairy Road.”
“The new Kahului Airport Access Road includes an eight-foot shoulder, but we believe a fully separated route is needed through this dangerous area of Central Maui” said Potts. “In keeping with the protected nature of the Northshore Greenway and the Mokulele Bike Path, we feel that it is unlikely families, children or individuals who are concerned about speeding cars will be willing to leave a protected route and traverse a high speed roadway along the shoulder of the road in order to reach another protected route. This is why the routes will effectively remain disconnected until a protected link is established.”
Maui Bicycling League is a nonprofit organization and a neighbor island chapter of Hawai‘i Bicycling League. The organization works to make Maui a safer place for bicyclists and pedestrians, through education, advocacy and public outreach.
To learn more about the Maui Bicycling League, go online.