Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mayor Says TOD Will Reshape Community Life

Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s commentary in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin focuses on an often overlooked aspect of the City’s rail project – Transit-Oriented Development.

Hannemann’s piece lists a number of TOD benefits, including restoration of a sense of community to neighborhoods and the potential to create affordable housing near transit stations. One can imagine families finding it unnecessary to own more than one car due to the convenience of nearby rail transit for the daily commute to work.

The Mayor made a similar pitch Monday at the Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunrise, the third time the club has had a City briefing on rail and the first time since a local architect spoke to the club and advocated building at least part of the system at ground level.

Hannemann noted the severe handicaps of at-grade rail, including slower speeds, the potential for accidents, reduced reliability and an issue that would be certain to arise on Oahu – the high probability that remains of Hawaiian ancestors would be disturbed during construction of an at-grade system.

His presentation included slides showing construction of Phoenix’s 20-mile system and the necessity to dig a deep trench along the entire route. The Mayor said Honolulu’s elevated system will rest on support pillars that will be 100 to 150 feet apart, and the impact on buried remains will be much less.

Trenching along route of Phoenix's 20-mile at-grade system.

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