Posted by: samandias | July 31, 2015

Is bike sharing in Maui County’s future?

Is bike sharing in Maui County’s future? Don Couch council member interested in your thoughts. Please email don.couch@mauicounty.us
* Don Couch is chair of the council’s Planning Committee. He holds the council seat for the South Maui residency area.

Don Couch Opinion

http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/600458/Is-bike-sharing-in-Maui-County-s-future-.html?nav=16

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Responses

  1. Dear Councilman Couch,

    It was very encouraging to read your editorial regarding the bike sharing and bike culture that’s taking hold in Charlotte, N.C. My hat goes off to you for riding bikes in the summer in Charlotte! I think what’s happening in Charlotte shows the bicycle is a viable option for both transportation and recreation.

    Maui can do it, too!

    Moving toward progressive options like a bike share program isn’t a “cart before the horse” proposition. Building new infrastructure—like the West Maui Greenway—while concurrently introducing programs like bike sharing will only strengthen public demand and enthusiasm for making the bicycle a viable and environmentally responsible choice for our island.

    While Maui moves forward with infrastructure and the introduction of bike share, our island also has a lot of existing bicycle infrastructure that’s not being used because it’s not being maintained or promoted.

    Does Maui have an accurate map showing all existing designated bicycle routes that residents and visitors can quickly access on their mobile devices or is posted in user friendly places?

    Is the county maintaining existing bike routes and pathways?

    Who at the county is the go-to person for bicycle-related issues?

    While we move forward on creating infrastructure, let’s show our residents and visitors what we already have by updating the county’s map of bike routes and multi-use pathways. Instead of printing it to hand out, leverage technology and make it an online tool or even an app. This is a low-cost, high return project. When visitors get off the cruise ship, if there was a visible, usable map that showed them bike routes AND a bike share program, they would get on bikes. If residents knew where the bike lanes already existed, they would use them. Just today, while I was out riding, I found a bike lane that I didn’t know was there, and I ride nearly every day!

    Second, we need to maintain what we already have. A prime example can be seen in two places: Amala Place and the Mokulele Multi-Use Pathway. Amala Place is the roadway accessible from Hobron and allows users to connect from the Whole Foods area to Kanaha Beach Park and then onto the Northshore Greenway, which runs behind the airport to just short of Paia. There is a designated bike route along Amala Place, and in many places it’s unusable because of kiawe over growth into the bike lane, debris—glass, sand, weeds, palm waste—and cracked/broken pavement. I’ve contacted public works, and have been told maintenance of this bike lane is “tricky” because four entities are involved. We can do better than that! As for the Mokulele Pathway, it’s a WONDERFUL asset that connects Kahului to Kihei; however, in many places, the weeds have overgrown the pathway and are shrinking its width by one-third. There is broken glass and debris in the intersections that pose puncture hazards for tires. No one wants to change a flat tire every time they ride. A dedicated effort to maintain existing bike lanes and pathways would go a long way.

    Finally, there’s a significant learning curve when it comes to bicycle related infrastructure and issues. If the county is truly dedicated to making Maui a bicycle-friendly island—and perhaps even a leader in the nation—there needs to be someone at the county who is completely dedicated to bicycle-related matters. A liaison who answers the questions, “what about bicycle access?” or “how will this affect the bicycling community?” when the county undertakes infrastructure-related projects. Having someone at the county-level could also provide research on projects like bike share or bike parking lots, so the enthusiasm from your experience in Charlotte can be quantified and given wheels in our community.

    There is great opportunities for bicycle use on our island, and I am very excited to see your interest on this topic. Thank you so much for your editorial on your bicycle experience in Charlotte. I’m encouraged by what you’ve shared, and I believe that Maui has an opportunity to provide its residents and visitors a safe place to get around by bicycle.

    We can do this!

    Ceal Potts
    Co-Chair, Maui Bicycling League


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