6.8-mile Kalanianaole stretch up for special recognition

Published On: May 27 2013 10:25:06 PM HST   Updated On: May 27 2013 10:29:54 PM HST

From Hanauma Bay and Koko Crater to Sandy Beach and Makapu’u Lighthouse, Oahu's east side coastline is jam-packed with spectacular sites.
“In my mind this is the most scenic stretch of highway anywhere in the state,” said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Chair Greg Knudsen.
In April, he applied with the state to earn special recognition for what he's calling the "Maunalua-Makapu'u Scenic Byway," which is an 6.8 mile stretch of Kalanianaole Highway from Hawaii Kai Drive to the Makai Research Pier.
“This stretch is above and beyond,” he said.
It's one of four areas vying to become a designated Scenic Byway this year:

--"Kauhale o Ho'okipa.” An area winding through Waikiki.
--The roadway encircling Diamond Head.
--On the Big Island: Highway 137 or the "Red Road,” which was once paved with red cinder.

It's not just the beauty of the area, it's also the historical and cultural significance.

An obelisk at one lookout near Sandy Beach is one of two left that memorialize the generations of fisherman who lost their lives in nearby waters.
"There's a lot of historic value to it as well. Right where we are the ashes of president Obama's mother and grandmother are just off shore,” said Knudsen at Lanai Lookout between Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach.

“I think it's good for the tourism, but it is going to cause more traffic,” said local resident Momi Ta’afala.
More name recognition and more buildup is a clear concern for her, but the special designation could also opens doors for sponsorships and grants to help preserve the area. 
“We see it as something that can help to preserve this and keep this as wonderful as it is,” said Knudsen.


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