By Tommy Noyes
It’s hard to imagine, but it has now been 10 years since Mayors Bryan Baptiste and Maryanne Kusaka opened the initial phase of Ke Ala Hele Makalae in Lydgate Park.
Plans are well advanced to build a new section of multi-use path in the one-mile gap in the Waipouli area.
When that short length of path is finished the two-and-a-half miles of path meandering through Lydgate Park and the four miles linking Kapa‘a’s coast to the Kealia shoreline will be connected. The result will be a continuous path attracting steadily increasing numbers of path enthusiasts.
How can all the walkers, joggers, parents with strollers, dogs, tricycle riders, and bicyclists who are out for a fun excursion and seeking to improve their fitness peacefully coexist on Ke Ala Hele Makalae? The keys are obeying the laws and following the simple etiquette guidelines established to help things flow smoothly on the path.
Here are the main points that will help make everyone’s experience on the path more pleasant.
First of all, please be courteous – all path users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode of travel, speed or skill level. And remember – courtesy is contagious.
By law, the Ke Ala Hele Makalae is open to all non-motorized users. Motorcycles, motor scooters or other motor-powered devices are not allowed, except, of course, for motorized wheelchairs. Path users should stay on the trail and not trespass on adjoining private properties. Camping along the trail is prohibited, except in designated areas.
Yield to pedestrians; they always have the right-of-way. Remember, “Wheels yield to heels.”
Be predictable — travel in a consistent manner. Look behind you before changing position on the path. Travel on the right side of the path and pass on the left. The path is like a roadway, so please guide any group you are with to travel on the right half of the path and not spread out to take up the entire path.
Announce yourself when passing — for example, call out, “On your left!” or ring a bicycle bell. Warn others as you approach from behind.
When you stop, move off of the path. Always allow other trail users clear access to the full width of the path.
Report crime and maintenance problems to the county Department of Parks and Recreation. Watch out for maintenance and security needs while on the path.
Obey all signs and rules, including stopping at intersections, traveling at safe speeds and don’t litter.
Keep dogs under control at all times. This is important as a courtesy to other path users and to protect endangered wildlife. Walk dogs on your right-hand side, away from passing cyclists. A person may walk no more than two dogs on the path or six feet to either side of the paved path, but not in the adjacent open areas. Leashes must not be longer than six feet. A means of disposing of the dogs’ waste (like a plastic bag) must be in evidence. Kaua‘i Humane Society volunteers stock biodegradable bags in the green dispensers installed frequently along the path. Remove your animal’s waste from the path and dispose of it in trash receptacles.
Guides are posted on the maps at trailheads and on signs along the path. Being aware of these laws and following common courtesy etiquette guidelines will help to keep the Ke Ala Hele Makalae enjoyable for all users.
- Tommy Noyes works for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s Public Health Preparedness branch, serves on Kaua‘i Path’s board of directors, and is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor.