PATH is involved with many projects to improve our island community, educate and promote safety. Here are a few notable projects.
A dream that began in 1997 became a reality in 2016 with the blessing of the first mile of the Queens’ Lei. This pathway is named in honor of na wahine ali’I, Queen Ka’ahumanu, Queen Liliuokalani, Queen Emma and Queen Mother Analea Keohokolole.
When completed, Queens’ Lei, will be a 16.7-mile circulation loop for bicyclists and pedestrians consisting of a shared-use pathway connecting all of North Kona. At the northern most end is the new University of Hawaii Palamanui Campus and at the southern end is Kailua Village. This loop trail will link the Keahole International Airport, the West Hawaii Civic Center, at least three planned Transit Oriented Development (TOD) centers, commercial areas, the Kaiser Health Clinic, the future court house and County beach parks.
There are so many people to thank for this recreational facility and we would like to start with a big mahalo to our Mayor, Billy Kenoi for his belief that the “built environment” plays a big role in determining whether people can be active as part of everyday life and that by making walking and biking safe and convenient, it helps people to build routine physical activity into their daily lives. It goes without saying that a one-mile long, 10’ wide path isn’t built overnight. Thanks also go to Department of Public Works Director Warren Lee, his Highway Maintenance Division Chief Neil Azevedo and the amazing highway crew for completing the path right on schedule.
Thanks to the support of the PATH board, the members of the Mayor’s Active Living Advisory Council, the members of the Queens’ Lei Task Force, donations form Kaiser Permanente, and from Hawaii Electric Light Company, we now have the beginning of a regional trail that will allow our kapuna, our keiki and health enthusiasts of all levels to enjoy a safe passage now, and for decades to come.
But the story doesn’t end there. The leadership of the West Hawaii Rotary Clubs, celebrating 100 years of Rotary in Hawaii, were looking for a community effort that they could lend their support to as part of their Centennial celebration. They liked the idea of the recreational path and offered to plant trees, install benches, and signage along the first mile as a lasting way to show Rotary’s support of the community.
Working under the guidance of the Hawaiian Gardens staff, Rotarians and PATH volunteers planted 100 native, dry forest, fruit and flower trees in the days preceding the blessing of the path. The benches and signage will be installed at a later date.
Community members, Hiram Rivera and Billy Stevens have made their water trucks available and are sharing the tree watering duties until the trees are established. The trees, signage and benches are made possible by donations totaling $50,000 from the Rotary Clubs of West Hawaii, Councilwoman Karen Eoff and the Ironman Foundation.
Old Walua Road Bike & Pedestrian Scenic Route
This was the first multi-use pathway on the island of Hawaii and remains a popular route for walkers, runners, bicyclists and folks with baby strollers and dogs. We are currently seeking funds to improve the four trailheads of this pathway.
Bike Education Programs
PATH organizes and offers safety and skills-based bike and pedestrian programs for Hawaii Island’s keiki, youth and adults. Thousands of Big Island’s residents have completed our safety programs over the past 25 years. For more information, please visit our Education Programs page.
Safe Routes to School
In 1999, PATH developed the first Safe Routes to School program in the state of Hawai`i and has performed the study in nine (9) schools around the island surveying over 8,000 students finding that a surprising average of 90 percent of students get to school by bus or car.
Results of the Safe Routes to School Programs have included the opening of pedestrian links between neighborhoods and schools, creation of crosswalks at strategic locations, re-striping and re-painting of shoulders and crosswalks, and additional signage along pedestrian routes.
PATH was a vocal advocate for federal support for the Safe Routes to School program and celebrated when this program became a focal point of the new transportation bill SAFE-TEA (Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act). We are currently working to get more off-road links between neighborhoods and schools and improve the physical environment around schools and hope to secure funding from the pocket of funds with the state releases them this fall.