Saturday, September 20, 2008

Busy Day Leaves Time for Reflections on Rail

It’s a fine day for the park, beach and other activities, so we trust most citizens’ thoughts are elsewhere. For anybody who’s interested in the Honolulu rail project today and who may be dropping in for the first time, our recommendation is to read up on the Alternatives Analysis for the project and three posts at this blog from the past month.

As we’ve said repeatedly and say again, the major consideration about rail is that it will restore Mobility – the ability to move freely through an urban environment while completely avoiding traffic, knowing your time of arrival before you begin your trip.

Some critics argue against rail because, as one letter writer recently found offensive, the system won’t deliver her to the door of her in-laws’ home. That’s not rail’s purpose – to be the answer for every single trip every resident could possibly make. Its function will be to transport tens of thousands of residents from one end of the city to the other according to a reliable schedule.

And that’s the second major issue – Reliability. Grade-separated transit is the only mode of transportation that can deliver you to your destination on time, every time. Enough said.

The third of the big three issues is Environmental. Renewable energy is going to supply an ever-increasing percentage of Oahu’s electricity in the years during which the rail system is built. As we’ve written here previously, it’s almost a certainty that energy from the ocean will be supplying power to the rail system, along with wind, solar and biofuels. Environmentally, rail is superior to single-car or even bus transportation, as the Alternatives Analysis discusses.

So enjoy the beach, park or whatever else you have to do today, and thanks for reading.

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