Saturday, October 17, 2009

Overpass Mishap Causes Another Massive Traffic Jam; Honolulu Rail Riders Won’t Have that Worry

A worker chips away at impact spot in Friday's overpass strike.
Anyone traveling east through town on Honolulu’s H-1 freeway around noon on Friday knows all about the two-hour-long stoppage caused by yet another overpass accident.

Yesterday’s jam wasn’t nearly as long as the infamous 2006 Aiea Heights pedestrian overpass strike. Thousands of homeward-bound drivers were stuck in traffic then for eight hours or more; some gave up and spent the night in Waikiki.

Friday’s accident similarly involved a truck hauling construction equipment that was too high to clear the overpass. This strike won’t require an overpass tear-down – the fate of the pedestrian bridge – but it shows how unpredictable it an be to drive across town.

The Beauty of Grade Separation

Which brings us to a familiar topic here at Yes2Rail: Grade-separated transit is the only way to travel through an urban area with a predictable arrival time. They issue timetables, after all! Grade-separated transit allows you to anticipate when you'll arrive according to your departure time – every time, no matter what’s happening with ground-level traffic.

Honolulu’s’ future elevated rail system is designed to operate completely free of traffic congestion, like yesterday's (above). Commuters will be unaffected by road and highway delays – whether caused by accidents or the usual drive-time congestion.

That’s why our favorite new slogan for Honolulu’s future rail system (though not original) is “Elevated Transit – the Only Way to Fly” – and it will seem like flying compared to being stuck in the same old commuting-by-car routine.

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