Monday, September 15, 2008

Second City Will Anchor Rail’s Ewa Terminus

Our post three days ago summarized the key points about the future rail system that were featured in a presentation to a realtor group last week. The first point – Accommodating Future Growth – deserves additional examination, especially for relative newcomers to Honolulu who may wonder about the assumptions upon which the rail system rests.

The Alternatives Analysis prepared for the project has considerable information on Oahu’s anticipated population growth, but there are other documents about anticipated growth in the region that are easily accessed on the Internet. One is the Ewa Development Plan, which supports the Oahu General Plan adopted by the Honolulu City Council in 1977.

Population & Jobs

The Plan designated the Ewa region as the location for a Secondary Urban Center to be developed around a new community, Kapolei. This is the so-called Second City that’s mentioned so often in media reports and government documents. Geographically, it encompasses the Kapolei-Ko Olina-Kalaeloa, Honouliuli-Ewa Beach and Makakilo-Makaiwa communities.

The Alternatives Analysis says the region’s population was 68,600 in 2000, and it projects a 2030 population of 184,600 -- a 169-percent increase. As noted here three days ago, most of that growth will come from within through births – i.e., families doing what comes naturally.

Jobs also will increase with population growth and Second City’s build-out, from 18,600 in 2000 to 65,800 in 2030. Elsewhere along the urban corridor from Waipahu-Waikele-Kunia to Kahala-Palolo, another 76,000 new residents are anticipated by 2030.

More than 90 percent of Oahu’s growth that’s expected by 2030 will be in the Second City-to-Honolulu corridor through which the rail project will run. As noted in the Alternatives Analysis report, the vast majority of trips made on the island occur within this corridor.

Both the Oahu General Plan and the Alternatives Analysis provide essential background on the rationale for the Honolulu rail project.

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