Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Closer Rail Gets, the More “Way Out” the Alternatives Are; a Sea Tunnel Around Oahu?!

Maybe it’s a sign of desperation among the anti-rail crowd that their alternatives to a straight-shot transit system through the urban heart of our island are by their own description “way out.” Take the commentary – please -- in today’s Star-Bulletin.

With public opinion solidly behind the City’s project, the magnetic levitation supporters are in the letters column again, but for sheer bravura, the cake goes to the commentary’s suggestion:

“…a tunnel-like construction of a new freeway encircling the island in the ocean just offshore with entry and exit spokes every so often.,,, This "circle the island tunnel" could be built over decades in segments. If the use of this tunnel system were restricted to EV traffic only, then much lighter and cheaper tunnel specifications and ventilation systems might be feasible. The construction of the tunnel need not hurt our surfing if planned properly.”

It’s tough to know where to begin with such a suggestion – the “tunnel to nowhere” issue, the environment, the cost, the surfing, the effect on tourism, the sheer “way-outness” of it. Credit goes to the newspaper for giving more than 800 words to this contributor.

A column half that length focused on electric vehicles (the piece’s initial hook) and that subject alone would have been solid. EVs are what we’ll all be driving someday, but just replacing gasoline-powered cars with EVs will do nothing to restore mobility to Oahu’s commuters.

But keep those cards and letters and commentaries coming in, anti-rail people. They make for entertaining reading, even if they don’t come close to addressing that major issue – mobility!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The tunnel idea just won't go away, which is unfortunate. The Defense Department will never let this tunnel be built.

See my articles called Why Honolulu Needs Rail and Have the wheels come off the bus and rail in Honolulu?, and Trevor Yee's article called Why HOT Lanes Won't Work in Honolulu.