Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Four Alternatives Reviewed in Transit DEIS

All the attention Honolulu’s rail transit system has received in 2008 in scores of media stories could easily have left some citizens wondering about what’s up for review. Several “alternatives” have been evaluated during the project’s many stages, leaving yet another set of “alternatives” that are under review in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The DEIS can eliminate any residual confusion, starting with what is not in doubt. The Honolulu system being studied would be an elevated fixed guideway, separated from street and highway traffic and therefore operating at predictable departure and arrival times. And, steel wheel on steel rail technology was selected as the technology to operate on the guideway.

The focus of the DEIS is the evaluation of three “build alternatives” with different route alignments, and one “no build alternative” that assesses what future conditions would be if none of the “build” alternatives were implemented.

The Four Alternatives

No Build Alternative –This alternative includes completion of the committed transportation projects identified in the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Oahu Regional Transportation Plan.
• Fixed Guideway Transit Alternative via Salt Lake Boulevard.
• Fixed Guideway Transit Alternative via the Airport.
• Fixed Guideway Alternative via the Airport and Salt Lake.

Each of these is evaluated in great detail in the DEIS, which citizens can comment on through January 7, 2009. Written comments may be sent to the Department of Transportation Services, 650 South King Street, 3rd Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813. Comments must be received or postmarked by 4:30 p.m. on January 7.

Copies of the Draft EIS also can be reviewed at State libraries, the City library, the Department of Transportation Services (at the above address) and at the Rapid Transit Division office, 1099 Alakea Street, Suite 1700.

The DEIS can be read at your leisure at the project’s website. Here’s a list of the contents; go to the Decmber 4th post for links :

Executive Summary
Chapter 1 – Background, Purpose and Need
Chapter 2 – Alternatives Considered
Chapter 3 – Transportation (existing and future 2030 transportation system conditions, service characteristics, performance and transportation-related effects of the Project’s alternatives)
Chapter 4 – Environmental Analysis, Consequences and Mitigation
Chapter 5 – Section 4(f) Evaluation (protection of public parklands and recreational lands, wildlife refuges and historic sites of national, state or local significance)
Chapter 6 – Cost and Financial Analsys
Chapter 7 – Evaluation of Alternatives
Chapter 8 – Comments and Coordination
Appendix A – Conceptual Alignment Plans and Profiles
Appendix B – Conceptual Right-of-Way Plans
Appendix C – Construction Approach
Appendix D – Record of Agency Correspondence and Coordination
Appendix E – Record of Public and Stakeholder Correspondence and Coordination

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