Friday, July 4, 2008

GO RAIL GO! Westsiders Rally with a Solid Message: 'You Got Yours; Now It’s Our Turn!'

Hundreds of rail supporters rallied at City Hall with Mayor Mufi Hannemann yesterday (above) and heard a resounding call to arms from speakers who said it’s time to turn back the anti-rail minority and bring Honolulu into the 21st century by building a modern rail transit system.  (BTW, the photo above and this blog is more than you'll find in today's Advertiser. What's up with that?!)

Maeda Timson, a 37-year Makakilo resident and long-time community activist, may have said it best with a bullet-proof argument:

“We sat back and paid our taxes when the H-3 was built to benefit the Windward Side. We willingly paid our taxes when Kalanianaole Highway was widened in East Honolulu to benefit Hawaii Kai. But now it’s our turn! Now it’s time for the island to get behind a project that will benefit the residents of Kapolei, Makakilo and Ewa!”

Rail opponents probably already have a response, but whatever it is, it can’t stand up to Timson’s heartfelt and completely logical position. No matter how bad Kahekili, Kalanianaole and Pali traffic backups were in their day, they couldn’t compare to the traffic congestion westsiders now endure. It’s time to do the right thing for our Second City neighbors.

The Week in Review

We end the week with a look back on Yes2Rail’s first posts. If you missed any of them, have a look:
• June 30: Only rail lets you accurately predict your arrival time.
• July 1: Cayetano airs old grudges, misses the point.
• July 2: Preverdouros’s bio shows no transit expertise.
• July 3: Strange but true: Lingle has no opinion on rail.
• July 4: Happy Independence Day!


John said...

Let's just look at mass transit. Suppose we are bus riders from Central Oahu or West Oahu. We ride the bus to the beginning of our new transit project. Either we have elevated rail or elevated bus lanes. In this example both systems go 20 miles to Ala Moana Center.

I get off the bus and transfer to the train. I ride the train the 20 miles to the end. The train averages 25 miles per hour (accelerates, slows down and stops at 19 stops). My trip takes 48 minutes.

You stay on your bus. Your bus enters the busway and travels to the end. The bus averages 60 miles per hour. You trip takes 20 minutes.

Express Buses on Managed Lanes save 28 minutes each way compared to rail.

The Stop Rail Now folks are supporting these Express Busses on Managed Lanes.

What bus rider would choose to waste 56 minutes per day?

Remember, time is the important commodity when we are addressing reducing traffic congestion.

Doug Carlson said...

John demonstrates in his comment that if you set up a scenario "just so" and ignore other factors, you can "prove" your point. E.G., he says: "Your bus enters the busway and travels to the end."

John, answer this: Where is "the end"?

Feel free to respond here in the Comments section.

John said...

Hi Doug,

This example shows the relative slow average speed of the proposed rail. If we had Express Buses on Managed Lanes, the transit commuter would save travel time compared to rail. Also, when new transit riders are presented with a 60 mph service vs a 25 mph service, I think Express Buses will attract more new riders.

To answer your question, in the example I suggested, the end would be any logical end of a 20 mile rail or Managed Lane solution.

Doug Carlson said...

John, thanks again for your comment and for maintaining our dialogue on a high plane. Re your comment that "the end would be any logical end of a 20 mile rail or Managed Lane solution", the end of the ML solution would be on a city street in a mix of cars, trucks and buses. Whatever gain you claim in travel time up to that point would be lost in traffic of indeterminate size and time delay, and it's for that reason that Managed Lanes can't do what rail will do -- avoid traffic. Add the fact that MLs would prolong the use of point-source-polluting internal combustion engines and I just can't see them stacking up against rail.

But keep on visiting and writing! Aloha, DC

John said...

Aloha Doug,

How is your comment, "the end of the ML solution would be on a city street in a mix of cars, trucks and buses", be any different for transit commuters who ride rail? If they transfer to a bus to go to their destination, how is that any different than ML Express bus riders?

Doug Carlson said...

John, the rail solution differs from what you've proposed in that riders will avoid traffic altogether. It may be a radical solution, but they'll be able walk to their destination! They -- at least many many of them -- will avoid traffic altogether. With transit stations positioned in population centers (near office buildings, commerce and shopping centers, etc.), there will be no necessity to ride for many/most of them after exiting the train.

John said...

That is an interesting idea. However, it sounds like City Planner talk. Do you think the city has any data to show where bus riders begin and where their destinations are? How many Bus riders use transfers? Let's see if the current bus riders could switch to rail and get out of traffic altogether as you propose. Do we know which bus routes will be eliminated by rail forcing bus riders to take rail? Do we know how many bus riders ride through the High-Capacity Corridor daily? Can we tell how many of these bus riders start out in walking distance from the H-1 corridor?

I'm afraid the City has not done any surveys on travel patterns or bus ridership through the H-1 corridor during rush hour. I like the efficiency of your proposal. However, I don't know if it models the real world.

Doug Carlson said...

John, I'm not a City Planner or a planner of any kind; it just seems logical to me that the train will drop riders within walking distance of offices and stores for a great percentage of the passengers.

I don't know the answers to your questions, but the people at the Transit Division do; I suggest going to its website -- -- and either searching for the answers or calling a number there. I'd be surprised if the surveys haven't been done and would go out on a limb to say they undoubtedly have been.

Hypothetically, if long-haul bus routes running parallel to the corridor route were eliminated after the system is built, I'd see nothing wrong with that. Travel time would be much faster on the overhead rail than on surface streets. Feeder buses could still funnel train riders to the rail stations. Aloha~DC

sumwonyuno said...

To anyone that recognizes my name, I know I have flip-flopped on my vow to not ever engage in posting about Honolulu's current transit project. It's hard to have strong feelings about something, and not being able to express it. Anyways...

It is nice to imagine buses and highways will form this better-than-rail transit system. Getting picked up in your neighborhood and then dropped off at your workplace. A minute a mile express buses to an every-stop train. I think this logic is too simplistic.

Trips using HOT highway do not originate/terminate at its endpoints. Getting to the entrance ramps, and after exiting is the issue: you will be at the mercy of traffic conditions.

Long-haul bus routes are especially vulnerable. Since the HOT is not an exclusive busway, toll-paying vehicles can interfere with the operation of these buses. Roadway incidents are far more frequent than for rail.

As for capacity, trains can fit more people, at the same headways, compared to buses. Let's use the City's 9000 person per direction per hour figure. Let's use a 75-person articulated bus versus a 300-person train. We would need 30 trains (one every 2 minutes) or 120 buses (one every 30 seconds). The buses will have the "non-stop ribbon" effect at the exit points, while trains would have no such problem with its headways.

Also, because of future projections, there will be more bi-directional traffic in the rushhour, due to the growth of Kapolei. Reversible HOT lanes do not address this issue, the fixed guideway does.