This was the most pleasant ride of my stay in Hawaii. I did it early in the trip but only just now got around to writing a lot of this stuff down.
I started in Waikoloa, went up the Queen K to Kawaihae and then on to Hawi, on the north side of the island and the turnaround point for the Ironman. It is about 2 hours of mostly flat terrain to Hawi.
In Hawi I turned right on Hwy 250 and started riding up the Kohala Mountains towards Waimea. It turns out that I turned a bit earlier than I should have, and did a couple miles of 10% gradient that I could have avoided if I had turned right later on Kinnersley. After that, though, the climbing is moderate, and the day I rode, the views were outstanding. Once you get some altitude, it becomes very green. Basically the "green line" is about 1500 feet, where the rain becomes consistent as the clouds move up over the mountains. You are now in ranch country. Waimea is the center of the ranching industry on the Big Island, and home to the Parker Ranch, which is the second largest ranch in the US after the King Ranch in Texas.
The road surface is good and traffic is light. The climb tops out around 3700ft after 13 miles, for an average gradient of 4.4%.....very pleasant. From the top there is a nice descent to Waimea, and then the ripping descent from Waimea back to the coast.
There is no water between Hawi and Waimea, so fill your bottles in Hawi (there is a market behind the post office at Hwy 250). Fill them again in Waimea (turn left and go 2 miles to the town proper where the shops are), because you are still about an hour from home, and by now it is probably ass hot.
Mothers who lived near a toll plaza with an E-ZPass had fewer instances of premature births and low birth-weight babies, according to a new study.
Janet Currie and Reed Walker of Columbia University’s Department of Economics compared mothers that lived within three kilometers of a toll plaza with those that lived within three kilometers of a major highway (but not near a toll plaza) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
By reducing congestion and emissions through the E-ZPass system, premature births dropped 10.8% and instances of low birth weight declined 11.8% for mothers within two kilometers of the toll plaza.
For those who lived three kilometers from the plaza, prematurity and low birth weight fell 7.3% and 8.4%, respectively.
The conclusions are of particular interest, the researchers say, because low birth weight has been linked to health problems in the future and lower educational attainment. But it also shows the effects of a system like E-ZPass that has an inherent value to consumers – reduced travel time – as well as peripheral benefits, such as reduced emissions and health benefits.
Previous estimates showed that E-ZPass, an electronic toll system that reads a tag mounted on the windshield without forcing the vehicle to stop, reduced traffic congestion by more than 85% in some plazas within its first year. Other studies revealed it may have cut harmful emissions by up to 50%.
But the E-ZPass study took that research a step further by trying to determine traffic congestion’s health effects.
The researchers used Vital Statistics Natality records, which cover all births in a state, from Pennsylvania for 1997 to 2002 and for New Jersey from 1994 to 2003. They then compared the change in the number of premature and low birth weight babies born to mothers near toll plazas with those born to mothers who were not near toll plazas before and after the E-ZPass.
With roughly 26% of homes located near congested areas, Currie and Walker concluded that “…nationwide reductions in prenatal exposure to traffic congestion could reduce preterm births by as many as 10,800 annually, a reduction that can be valued at $557 million per year,” the study states. “Since we have focused on only one of the possible health effects of traffic congestion, albeit an important one, the total health benefits of reducing pollution due to traffic congestion are likely to be much greater.”