Monday, December 22, 2008

DEIS Has ‘Environmental Justice’ Component

An important piece of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Honolulu rail project is Environmental Justice – EJ for short. President Clinton signed Executive Order 12898 in 1994 directing Federal agencies:

“…to take appropriate and necessary steps to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse effects of their projects on the health or environment of minority and low-income populations to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law. The order directs Federal actions, including transportation projects, to use existing law to avoid discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and to avoid disproportionately high and adverse impacts on minority and low-income populations.” (a quote in the DEIS)

The project team has reached out to minority communities by conducting numerous meetings and distributing publications printed in a variety of languages – Chinese, English, Ilocano, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. The outreach has included coordination with local churches, health centers and local civic and ethnic organizations.

Chapter 4 of the DEIS – Environmental Analysis, Consequences and Mitigation – discusses EJ beginning on page 4-46.


Jeff said...

To be (going through to the airport), or not to be…that is the (only?!?) question. Hey! What about finishing the rail line to include the University of Hawai’i Manoa? It is just over a mile from the Mall end-point that is planned now. Nearly everyone on this island can easily see the large traffic difference when school is ‘in’, so why doesn’t the planning committee work this out? You could use several major streets to follow overhead, or even build next to the Ala Wai for a short distance (near the boat harbor side). Also, what is this that I’ve now heard about the system possibly being started around Pearl now instead of Kapolei? This project is going to take years to build, so begin where it is OPEN, and easy to start (especially with the cost of land going down right now)! By the time that this really does gets underway, the recession will be over, building will have resumed in Kapolei, so this rail project will be getting in the way of other private and public building and road projects, plus the land prices will have gone up again too. Start in Kapolei while it costs less and makes sense. (By the way, if it IS started near Makakilo, and not around Pearl, at least the rail system would hit one University campus; UH Kapolei.)

sumwonyuno said...

Jeff, those are good reasons to start out in Kapolei. Anyone's first gut reaction is to say start in-town, but I haven't heard how that will happen. There are some real important logistical things to work out for town, when the City has done those things for the west side already.

UHM sounds like a give-me too, but the main downside is cost. Somewhere between half to a full billion dollars. It's actually more like 2 miles from Ala Moana. The UHM extension needs to be the first one done after the current MOS. Not the airport, not Waikiki, not West Kapolei. Though the station is much further than any bus stop or even the parking garage, its frequency will attract students. It can also indirectly serve Waikiki @ McCully St.

I know I had posted sometime earlier about my preferred rail route through employment areas and bus circulators in residential, but Salt Lake may be an exception. Free parking for workers at the airport and Pearl Harbor is a definite disadvantage. I often ride the #3 bus westbound in the afternoons and it's always crowded by the time I get off before the freeway.