Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Among At-Grade’s Negatives: Vehicle Lane Loss

Houston's at-grade train
At-grade rail advocates continue to shop their eleventh-hour proposal around town, so we’ll continue pointing out what they don’t.

The above photo from Houston, TX shows what happens when you drop train tracks into an existing city street. In short, you replace traffic lanes.

Maybe that works in Houston’s wide-open spaces, but as Honolulu residents know, our city is tightly compressed between mountains and the ocean. We simply can’t eliminate lanes that currently service cars, buses and trucks when we build our rail system.

The only way to retain the same number of lanes when at-grade tracks are added to a street is to widen it – i.e., take property on both sides. That’s also unacceptable in Our Honolulu.

The City’s plan to build an elevated train system is solid for all the reasons we've repeatedly mentioned here. The photo makes one of those points perfectly.

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