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Oahu roadways win 'scenic byway' status

The designation marks the areas around Diamond Head and Ka Iwi coastline for preservation

By Rosemarie Bernardo

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:08 p.m. HST, Jan 02, 2014


This story has been corrected. Please see below.

Roads encircling Diamond Head and the route along the rugged and pristine Ka Iwi coastline are now designated as Hawaii Scenic Byways.

The state Department of Transportation recently approved proposals for the Diamond Head Scenic Byway — the Lei Around Le‘ahi, and the Maunalua-Makapuu Scenic Byway to be listed among Hawaii Scenic Byways. Modeled after the federal program, the designation paves the way for recognition, preservation and enhancement of roads with outstanding scenic, natural, historic, cultural, archaeological and recreational offerings.

Hawaii roads previously named as scenic byways are: Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor, Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast, and Ka‘u Scenic Byway — The Slopes of Mauna Loa, all on Hawaii island; and the HoloHolo Koloa Scenic Byway on Kauai.

The Diamond Head State Monument Foundation served as the lead sponsor in the byway bid for Lei Around Le‘ahi. Others involved in the effort included Hawaii's Thousand Friends, Scenic Hawaii, the O‘ahu Island Parks Conservancy and the Outdoor Circle. The foundation said in a news release it will be working on a comprehensive management plan.

Diamond Head crater was officially designated as a State Historic Monument in 1965 and a National Natural Landmark in 1968.

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Greg Knudsen, project coordinator of the Ka Iwi Coalition, said Maunalua-Makapuu is "a natural choice for the scenic byway program."

The 6.8-mile stretch from Hawaii Kai Drive to the Makai Research Pier is filled with natural attractions with scenic, historical, cultural, recreational and archaeological significance, Knudsen said. Among the popular sites on the winding road: Hanauma Bay, Sandy Beach and Halona Blowhole. Farther east on the route is the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, which offers a family-friendly hike to panoramic view of the Ka Iwi and windward coasts from Oahu's easternmost tip.

The drive is featured in most Oahu guidebooks and considered one of "the 275 best drives in the U.S." in National Geographic's Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, Knudsen said.

Maunalua-Makapuu's state scenic byways designation was initiated by the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board and sponsored by the Ka Iwi Coalition. Knudsen said the coalition, which is part of the Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, is working on a corridor management plan for the byway.

"We want to keep it natural and as undeveloped as possible," he said.

A total of four areas received the designation of Hawaii Scenic Byways last month, according to the state Department of Transportation. They include Red Road, or Kuka ‘Ehu Ala, a 15-mile stretch of Highway 137 in Puna, which passes historic lava fields, state parks, a forest preserve and a marine sanctuary; and Kauhale o Ho‘okipa in Waikiki, which is based on the Waikiki Historic Trail walking tour. An earlier version of this story said the Puna and Waikiki areas were “under consideration.






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onevoice82 wrote:
I would like more information on what restrictions, if any, will be put on us if we accept this designation. If it includes not being able to make slight changes in size or redirection, then we need to be made aware of this before jumping up and down and saying yeah!
on January 2,2014 | 04:19AM
bikemom wrote:
Here's more information about the program. http://www.hawaiiscenicbyways.org/. These two applications were in the works for over a year, and many meetings were held.
on January 2,2014 | 09:11AM
kahuku01 wrote:
Exiting the H-3 tunnel and heading towards the Windward side is a breath taking scenery and that should be named as one of the scenic byways. It proves the way for recognition, preservation and enhancement of roads with outstanding scenic, natural, historic, culture, archaeological and recreational offering. Someone or the state DOT overlooked this beautiful byway and how could this be?
on January 2,2014 | 04:22AM
false wrote:
Open views up H-2 should be preserved from over building on the Ridges. If Ka Iwi is special so are the expanses of country that preserve the rural planes and plains. Whatever perspective you hold, protecting the open space is what makes Hawai`i, Hawai`i. Let's not lose it with over expansion. Consider more ways to hide the growth from view.
on January 2,2014 | 10:17AM
wiliki wrote:
The views on Oahu are not part of the urban core. But I think that there should be an opportunity to get out of the car to take pictures. That doesn't apply to H3, but it does apply to the little island near Lanikai althought it is well in sight of the President as he is staying in a residential area.
on January 2,2014 | 02:14PM
Wazdat wrote:
Good News. NOW please have the DOT redesign and REPAIR the road from the makapuu lighthouse trail down to the gold course. That road is a JOKE and so Dangerous, its uneven, bumby and the WORST section of raod around. Come on DOT..WAKE UP and do you JOB I mean really what do you guys do at your job in the office at the DOT ?
on January 2,2014 | 05:02AM
Wazdat wrote:
Makapuu trail to the golf course needs to be FIXED
on January 2,2014 | 05:03AM
lokela wrote:
Also cause small kind traffic.
on January 2,2014 | 05:31AM
tigerwarrior wrote:
My fave scenic byway has got to be the long stretch of Kamehameha Highway that runs from Chinaman's Hat to Crouching Lion.
on January 2,2014 | 06:00AM
Sandybeach wrote:
I would consider moving the KKHD pistol/rifle range and making that a picnic area or a rest stop for visitors and locals alike. A few food concessions and refreshments done in a Hawaiian way. Done right it could be a visitor center similar to Hanauma Bay. Small but a place to rest and learn a little about Hawaiian history. Just a thought....don't want to offend anyone.
on January 2,2014 | 06:32AM
kiragirl wrote:
Great idea as the firing range should be relocated to a place less populated and less valuable. A pit stop for tourists and residents is almost a no-brainer.
on January 2,2014 | 07:31AM
false wrote:
Put the firing range on Schofield. It's a natural for such recreation. As for a visitor center and more fantasy land orchestrations, forget it! We don't need that kind of development. Preserving the natural mystery of the environment is captivating. Hiking and pot lucking is what we want to preserve. That all went with the redevelopment of Hanauma. No more evening dinners on the beach, just overall restricted access just for tourists. Never go there anymore. The memories are too special to surrender.
on January 2,2014 | 10:21AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I think the firing range is okay in Koko Head. It's still controlled adequately. Why, did you get shot at, as you drove by?
on January 2,2014 | 10:32AM
kiragirl wrote:
Just recently stray bullets hit a couple of homes.
on January 2,2014 | 01:29PM
kiragirl wrote:
Aaah, moonlight picnics too in the bay. None of that anymore. Guess I am showing my age ;)
on January 2,2014 | 01:28PM
kiragirl wrote:
I do admit that instead of driving through Hawaii Kai, I take the scenic route and I feel lucky to be able to view the beautiful coastline. Beautiful!
on January 2,2014 | 07:16AM
cojef wrote:
Yep! Seascapes are lot more interesting to see than luxury home settings or man-made marina.
on January 2,2014 | 08:04AM
mrluke wrote:
What's so scenic about potholes
on January 2,2014 | 09:26AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Giving us a pat on the back. It's like Norm Chow's son saying to his Dad, you're doing great Dad!!!
on January 2,2014 | 10:20AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The Lei around Leahi is new to me, as I've driven from Waikiki to Kahala, however not from Waikiki around Diamond Head and returning to Waikiki. The Hanauma Bay route I've driven many times, too many to count, usually all the way around to Castle Junction so that I could jump on the H-3, back home into town. The two scenic routes were included in scenes from the original Hawaii Five-O series countless times and if one watches the original series, one could see how development has changed Oahu, and how some areas will never be allowed to change, such as the Makai Pier.
on January 2,2014 | 10:29AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Yeah, this is good but it would be great if The Diamond Head State Monument Foundation, Hawaii's Thousand Friends, Scenic Hawaii, the O‘ahu Island Parks Conservancy, the Outdoor Circle and other groups of this nature would stand tall against the horrible blight of the Train to Nowhere and its huge elevated platforms, vast concrete areas and rail lines in the sky.
on January 2,2014 | 11:25AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I nominate Meheula Parkway for road of the year.

Signed:
Organization of Hawaii's Dentist.
on January 2,2014 | 11:28AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Who cares about the scenic roads in Hawaii. I just want to be able to go to Subway and order a $5 footlong.
on January 2,2014 | 01:30PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Who cares about the scenic roads in Hawaii. I just want to be able to go to Subway and get a $5 footlong.
on January 2,2014 | 01:31PM
wiliki wrote:
Great idea.... we cherish those nice views.....
on January 2,2014 | 02:09PM
Knudsen wrote:
Actually, all four roadways that achieved nomination status advanced to full designation. As project coordinator for the Maunalua-Makapu‘u Scenic Byway, I'm happy to see this article about the Diamond Head byway and ours, but hope a followup article recognizes the Waikiki and Red Road byways, too. For a slideshow of the Maunalua-Makapu‘u Scenic Byway, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlohNPiu8uc, and for a virtual drive video, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qakWP4FtOg. --Greg Knudsen, Byway Project Coordinator, Kai Iwi Coaition; Chairperson, Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board
on January 2,2014 | 02:50PM
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