KAILUA-KONA — Those blue bike ubiquitous around Kailua-Kona?
You’re about to see more of them.
The nonprofit organization AARP recently awarded Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii, PATH, a grant to extend its bikeshare program.
“We will be adding three or four more stations in early August,” said PATH executive director Tina Clothier. “Because we are increasing the number of stations, there will be more accessibility to those stations for our residents, especially for those that live along Alii Drive, and who work in the village or the Kona Commons area, or who might want to go those places for shopping and so on.”
The $5,400 grant was one of three AARP awarded statewide. The other two were for beautification projects in Waikiki.
The Hawaii grants are part of nearly $1.6 million being distributed to fund 159 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jump start long-term progress to support residents of all ages, according to AARP.
Nearly 1,700 applications were received from nonprofits and government entities for the program, now in its third year.
Clothier said PATH’s allocation will enable programs to promote walkability and bikeability. The nonprofit has been advocating for safe places to walk, bike and hike in Hawaii County since 1986.
PATH is collaborating with the West Hawaii Community Health Center and their diabetes prevention program for the first time to support WHCHC’s RxBike program.
The center will be offering participants monthly bike safety education classes and group rides, free helmets and a reduced membership in PATH’s bikeshare program at $50. The normal rate is $25 a month.
“I am looking forward to continuing this partnership with the West Hawaii Community Health Center into the future,” Clothier said. “I am also looking forward to seeing more and more of our community members becoming comfortable riding bicycles and using them as a means for exercise and transportation.”
The intention, she added, is that as more people participate in the RxBike program, the more comfortable they will become riding the bikeshare bikes and will incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle.
“It is also that our bikeshare program will grow through that membership,” she said.