To county Director of Parks & Recreation Patrick Porter;
I just returned home from my daily ride on the bike/walking path (Ke Ala Hele Makalae) that lies between the ocean and Kapa‘a. Someone said the path is the best thing that happened to Kapa‘a years ago, when the path was created. I agree. People of all ages have been riding or walking there throughout the pandemic, including happy 4-year-olds on scooters or others pedaling tiny 2-wheelers. Then there is the 93-year-old smiling woman I greet daily, taking baby steps with the assistance of her son and a walker. It is truly a diverse, democratic and happy fitness crowd, And the view from the path, white ocean waves crashing on a turquoise ocean with puffy white clouds shape-shifting in a cobalt-blue sky, is magnificent!
Unfortunately, this wonderful path has deteriorated because the county stopped cleaning it at the start of the pandemic. I have seen some residents along Fuji Beach sweeping the sand, pine needles and other debris from the path, and also know a volunteer who sweeps it weekly on the north side of Kapa‘a.
But after all these pandemic months, the path, especially south of the Kapa‘a Stream bridge, is a mess! There are several areas where three-quarters of the path is covered by sand and pine needles. Now, the ironwood trees are dropping prickly pine-cone balls, the hardness and size of marbles making the path potentially dangerous.
Bike tires are hampered by the cone needles, so riders swerve to miss them. In addition, several comfort stations are filthy and stink, some with rotting boards. Instead of a clean and safe place, our path and comfort stations have become a mess.
I went to the county parks office to complain, but it was locked with no one working. I left a written message about this problem, with no response.
What doesn’t make any sense is that the men operating the huge cleaning machine who used to sweep the path could have continued doing that throughout the entire pandemic, using a mask and social distancing.
Workers could have been emptying trash bins and cleaning the rest stations, which are filthy and smell like dog poop. Human trash is left in garbage cans and scattered out on the ground as well.
I implore the county to take responsibility and routinely clean sand, needles, ironwood cones and other trash off the path and repair and clean the rest stations as well. Please give us back our path, which is used for physical fitness and stress-relief by our residents as well as visitors. Please provide maintenance and make us proud of our path once again.
Gabriela Taylor is a resident of Kapa‘a