Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: LYNX Is ‘Fast, Comfortable, Affordable’

The dean of Honolulu journalists has spoken. Wayne Harada, albeit technically retired, still writes for the Honolulu Advertiser – and writes and writes and writes. He must be going for the billion-word mark, and he sure does get around.

Today's column is datelined Charlotte, NC, where Wayne has found surprisingly good things – including the city’s light rail system called LYNX. Here’s Wayne’s mini-review:

• Light rail is limited — only 9.6 miles long now, with plans for expansion — but very evident here. I caught a ride the other day; LYNX, as it’s called, is fast, comfortable, affordable ( $1.50 one way), and — take note, Mayor Mufi Hannemann — is spurring development along the route, with condos and businesses in construction even in the soft economy. There are 15 stations, seven park-and-ride-locations — and LYNX serves a corridor from I-485 at South Boulevard to Uptown Charlotte, with Center City in the service zone.

Written like a fan, something Wayne Harada knows a lot about, having covered the Advertiser’s entertainment beat for 44 years. And he has lots of company there in Charlotte.

Chatham Olive, past president of the Sierra Club Charlotte chapter, was in Honolulu for June’s Transit Symposium and sat for an interview. He notes that rail in Charlotte has improved the environment by taking drivers out of their pollution-coughing cars.

That’s something Wayne Harada will appreciate about Honolulu’s rail system when it’s completed within a decade. Keep writing, Wayne.

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