Thursday, July 23, 2009

I’LL SHOW YA HOW TO WALK THE DOG

I’LL SHOW YA HOW TO WALK THE DOG: The construction of the so-called “coastal” bike path has always been a harebrained. through-the-looking-glass experience.

But, to mangle a phrase, it keeps getting circuitous-er and circuitous-er as the path moves from Lydgate to the Kapa`a Boat launch at Lihi according to an informative piece by Juan Wilson at IsalndBreath who has been staying on top of the latest phase of the boondoggle.

He also reports a new wrinkle to explain what the rush is in deciding on one of the untenable options the county is considering- there’s $4 million dollars of federal stimulus money involved and if it isn’t used soon it will grow and spread wings, Big Island bound.

He reports

Some small, yet important adjustments can still be made to improve the overall plan. There is now a very short window of opportunity to having any affect on these plans because $4 million of funding has been obtained through the federal stimulus program and final plans must submitted by early August or those funds will be redistributed to the Big Island. Comments on this projected work must be in by August 7th 2009...

The major projects consist of two state components:

1) The widening to four lanes of the Kuhio Highway north of the Wailua River to the Kapa`a bypass.

2) The rebuilding of the existing cane haul bridge to accommodate two lanes of traffic and the bike pedestrian path.

It also consists of one County component:


3) The bike path from the Wailua river crossing north as far as the Kapa`a bypass.

Of course this won’t be the first county scam of questionable legality to redirect funds from needed transportation projects to supplement the bike path funding which dried up with only as small fraction the entire path constructed.

We blew the original $40 million that was supposed to build the whole shebang long ago and are well into the $10’s of millions in additional county funds, not including the other state and federal money stolen from other much-needed transportation and recreational projects.

Wilson continues:

The routing of the alternative transportation "bike" path between Lihue and Kapa`a has been a tortured history of misplaced priorities, hurried planning and bad decisions. The current state of the plans are as illogical as they will be impractical.

One must remember, regardless of what Thomas Noyes says, the federal funding for alternative transportation that is going to our bike path is not earmarked for a "coastal recreation trail". It is funding for transportation alternatives to automotive traffic.

Since we’ve been getting away with it for so long apparently we’re going to do it again. But we may not even wind up with a coastal path after all this if the best option among a lot of bad alternative routes is selected.

More from Wilson

Ideally, this alternative should be safe and efficient and not have negative impact on the environment or cultural sites. Some, including ourselves, have advocated mauka (inland) routes for the bike path.

One mauka scheme would lead through what were once cane fields from Lihue north of the Kuhio Highway, past Hanama`ulu and follow the base of Kelepa Forest Reserve, and cross the Wailua River just mauka of the existing highway bridge. The route could then follow the public right of way behind the old Coco Palms along the canal and hook up with the canal way that goes behind the Foodland in Waipouli. This route would never have to cross the highway and would avoid problems of other routes on cultural sites and sensitive beach environments.

Where we are today is stuck with a crossing of the Wailua River makai (seaward) of the cane haul bridge structure that will carry two lanes of the Kuhio Highway. This route will be narrow and close to heavy traffic with accompanying noise, dust, and fumes.

The bike path then is planned to run over the dunes and plants covering burial sites along Wailua Beach. It will then follow a twisted route up Papaloa Road, make a left at Lanikai Street, then absurdly backtrack east along the Kuhio Highway to Hale`ilio Street until it can finally line up with a mauka path to Foodland. This is a ridiculous and unacceptable plan.

Yes. it’s already been decided that the “scenic” beach path is going through the Foodland and Safeway parking lots and crossing the highway at the worst intersection on the island. But one of the alternatives on crossing back over is even more absurd.

That was so we could get the property for the path by letting the two mall owners off the hook for 25 year of ignoring and delaying a required bridge to connect the two supermarkets. That was the reason for the path crossing the highway in the first place.

Wilson describes one alternative for what he calls the “canal route” designed to link up with the now urban corridor.

After exiting the cane haul bridge bike path would follow the mauka side of the rock wall dividing the highway from Wailua Beach until it is north of Kuamo`o Road. It would then ramp down to a pedestrian highway underpass (funded by the Coco Palms developer) and parallel Kuamo`o Road until it reach the canal where it could then follow the public right of way to link eventually with Foodland.

A highway underpass? 100 yards from the ocean about a foot above sea level? And depending on a developer- one who hasn’t done a thing about the rat infested ruins of the hotel and is apparently trying to sell the development rights after getting an extension from a bamboozled planning commission- to do it.

Yeah... that’ll happen.

The county is hell bent on completing this boondoggle no matter how much it costs and no matter how much disruption it causes because if it doesn’t then it will certainly never be able to claim that any transportation is happening, even though the only ones they have ever made that claim to is the DOT.

Wilson also notes the details of the latest illegally segmented environmental assessment up for approval- where a full blown EIS would be required if it wasn’t divided into small sections.

Oh- and despite lies Noyes repeated recently saying the DOT director has signed off on the “primarily transportation. not recreation” requirement for the bike path he still can’t produce the document.

The idea of putting a ribbon of concrete along the ocean to protect it and provide access has always seemed to us to be kind of like the kid who spits on his ice cream to make sure he doesn’t have to share it with his buddies. Yup he’s got your ice cream, disgusting though it may be

Still if we have to throw more money down this rat hole boondoggle, we’ve got to agree with Juan that moving it mauka is the least objectionable of the idiotic alternative.

Can’t anyone here play this game?

6 comments:

Nonyer Biz said...

One must remember, regardless of what Thomas Noyes says, the federal funding for alternative transportation that is going to our bike path is not earmarked for a "coastal recreation trail". It is funding for transportation alternatives to automotive traffic

Patently false and you know it. Juan Wilson is just as ill informed or willfully ignorant as you.

"Transportation Enhancements (TE) activities are federally funded, community-based projects that expand travel choices and enhance the transportation experience by improving the cultural, historic, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation infrastructure. TE projects must be one of 12 eligible activities and must relate to surface transportation.

For example, projects can include creation of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, streetscape improvements, refurbishment of historic transportation facilities, and other investments that enhance communities and access. The federal government provides funding for TE projects through our nation's surface transportation legislation. "

From

http://www.enhancements.org/Te_basics.asp

Anyone who puts in even 5 minutes researching the subject will find that these projects are mostly recreational projects.

As for the stupid claims that the projects are illegal, so why can't you get anyone in the Federal government to listen to you and take action? Nope, those in charge of the funds keep writing the checks.

Pitiful effort here Andy.

Brad Parsons said...

Nonyer Biz, they're makin' headway. Two days ago the Director of the County Parks Dept. came into the Council chambers at about 11pm all winded wanting to give testimony on approval for the funding of this. Yesterday, a chief proponent of The Path gave an alarming speech at the Apollo monthly meeting saying there is currently a "serious threat to The Path" on Wailua Beach. As an observer, it appears they are worried. Never underestimate the ingenuity of Kauaian activists.

Nonyer Biz said...

I've no problem with fighting against the path. I've little use for it though I prefer it to golf courses and unused ball fields. But the lie that it's illegal is as goofy as the birther bull--t.

Just how is it the Kauai County wankers have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the mighty federal govt for 10+ years to fund this path? Yeah. Right.

Andy Parx said...

I’m quite tired of Nonyer’s citations of irrelevant documents for other different programs and grants and his attempts to relate them to the specific original $40 million grant for the bike path. Suffice to say his citations are and have been on many other occasions over the past year and a half, misdirectional drivel. I will not post on this again and “feed the troll” but I didn’t want anyone reading his/her comment to think for second it’s true. He has repeatedly been directed to the correct documentation and refuses to obtain and read it.

Nonyer Biz said...

You're as full of crap as ever Andy.

These cites are directly on point. And you've yet to address the most telling point. Just how/why is the money being appropriated over and over and over if there is a violation?

These projects have been funded with Transportation Enhancement funds. TE spending is only required to be related to transportation is the most tenuous way.

Your definition of a troll is someone that disagrees with you. High humor

Nonyer Biz said...

And once more for the record.

Here's the State's funding information for the bike path:

http://www.state.hi.us/dot/stp/stip/050916-04-06stip-am-9approved.pdf

see page 22 of 26 Items KC 5-KC 7
TEA - 21 category Funding source = "STP Enhancements"

From Fed TEA-21

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/Tea21/factsheets/te.htm

"Transportation enhancements (TE) are transportation-related activities that are designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the Nation’s intermodal transportation system. The transportation enhancements program provides for the implementation of a variety of non-traditional projects, with examples ranging from the restoration of historic transportation facilities, to bike and pedestrian facilities, to landscaping and scenic beautification, and to the mitigation of water pollution from highway runoff. "

Since the original TEA law was passed, the type of projects allowed under "enhancements" has grown mightily:

http://www.enhancements.org/Te_basics.asp


Andy's cites have been the equivalent of pointing to 1880s laws saying women can't vote and ignoring all subsequent legislation.