Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sierra Club Endorses Rail–in Florida; Congress Ups Dollars for Honolulu; Another At-Grade Train Crash

Today’s post is a mélange of news that may be geographically distant but nevertheless relevant to Honolulu’s future rail system.

Sierra Club for Rail!

That’s the news from the Sunshine State. Hawaii has nothing to fear from Florida’s nickname, but we do admit to being a bit jealous that the Sierra Club has embraced rail there enthusiastically while the Hawaii chapter is much less vocal in expressing its support for Honolulu’s project.

The Florida group is touting the national club’s Green Transportation Campaign; check out the Campaign’s website and the prominent photo of an elevated transit line, similar to what Honolulu will build.

One of the campaigns goals is “reducing vehicle miles traveled per person by increasing public transit use, fostering compact communities with transportation choices (rail, bus, walking, biking), and by cutting the number of car trips taken.”

That’s pretty much what rail will achieve in Honolulu – so if you know any Sierra Club members, you might ask them to compare the national club’s goals with what Honolulu rail will accomplish!

Federal Funds Secured

Hawaii’s congressional delegation has come through with $30 million for Honolulu’s rail transit project. The award is part of an omnibus spending package that will total $387 million for a wide variety of projects and programs in the state.

Commenting in Washington while on a visit, Mayor Mufi Hannemann said, “Senator Inouye’s outstanding leadership has been instrumental in moving forward this rail transit project that is vital to our island’s economy and its future.”

Another At-Grade Crash

We’ve been calling attention to collisions between at-grade trains and vehicles as they occur simply to point out the obvious – that at-grade transit has a safety issue that advocates continue to ignore.

The news from Milpitas, CA over the weekend was about as bad as it gets. The driver of a vehicle that turned into the path of a light rail train was killed.

Honolulu’s project will be elevated above all street traffic and therefore will be inherently much safer than systems that share ground space with cross traffic and pedestrians.


Peter said...

ridiculous. let's compare the rate of deadly vehicle crashes in your hood to the rate of deadly vehicle crashes in Milpitas, then we'll have something to discuss.

i suspect Honolulu is much more dangerous, because it has no alternative to the most deadly form of transport -- cars.

the main point of elevating or submerging a train is to keep the streets clear for cars.

i'm not sure what the fascination is with either elevated or below-grade transit -- i say make the cars go underground, like Boston did. and if it's too expensive, then cars will just have to quit.

Doug Carlson said...

Peter, we're not comparing train crashes with car crashes. We're comparing at-grade crashes with zero elevated crashes. Unless you live here in Honolulu and are following the ill-conceived 11th-hour push by architects and a few others for an at-grade system, you may not appreciate the point of these posts about at-grade accidents. We don't want them and won't have them when Honolulu's system is built as planned -- elevated.

Thanks for reading and your comment.