Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Zeroing In on the Whole Point of Building Rail

Couldn’t help but shake my head on Monday when the first thing I read in the first edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser – the very first thing! – was a mistake.

A “Coming up” blurb at the top of B1 noted my upcoming rail presentation to a local group and called me “the mayor’s spokesman for the Honolulu Rail Transit Project.”

For the record, that’s not me. That’s Bill Brennan or Wayne Yoshioka or somebody else, but it’s not me. I’m a communications subcontractor to Parsons Brinckerhoff; I write this blog, schedule and deliver presentations on the project among other things. This is worth mentioning here since the Star-Tiser hasn’t printed my correction, and I don’t want any misunderstandings.

Speaking of that, “misunderstand” is what numerous critics do when they talk about rail. They continue to not understand the project's purpose and need. That’ll be one of the subjects of my upcoming talk, and it’s worth mentioning at Yes2Rail today, too.

In a nutshell, the Honolulu rail project’s purpose is to provide high-capacity and fast transit service between Kapolei and town and do it more reliably than buses can deliver in mixed-flow traffic. It will restore mobility for the population, including limited-income and elderly residents living in the transit corridor, by being an alternative to private automobile travel; in so doing, it will provide transportation equity for all travelers. Rail will moderate the anticipated growth of traffic congestion in the corridor and be a means for users to completely avoid that congestion. It will allow riders to predict their time of arrival when they start their trip. Finally, transit-oriented development will be a rational process to guide the community’s future growth.

Keep this in mind when someone suggests managed lanes or elevated busways could meet the community’s transportation purpose and need. Only fast, frequent, safe and reliable grade-separated rail can do that.

3 comments:

Hannah in Manoa said...

Rail has at least two purposes. One is to connect five major transit centers: Ala Moana, Downtown, Middle Street (Kalihi), Waipahu, and East Kapolei. Rail will speed trips for riders destined all over the island: Sea-Life Park, Waikiki, Manoa, Kailua, Kaneohe, Salt Lake, Mililani, Wahiawa, Haleiwa, Waianae and Makaha, West Kapolei and Ewa Beach, to name the major destinations. Furthermore, by bypassing the places with where traffic is delaying bus service the most, rail is the only way to keep TheBus from deteriorating into near-uselessness.

Miss Transit 2010 said...

I actually think that the new Star-Advertiser is tres-BORING and wish that the Honolulu Advertiser was still around. It had a better website, better paper and better reporting. The new paper really looks like the Honolulu Star Bulletin with a new Star-Advertiser face plate. Too bad and yuck.

Keep up the good work with your Yes-2-Rail blogs. It's quite informative and interersting.

Just STOP using the Seinfeld puffy shirt scenario, it's passe.

Doug Carlson said...

You're right; the Puffy Shirt is threadbare! We're left to wonder what happened to the principal seller of those puffed up stories. It's been a week since the Star-Ad launched and we've yet to see a byline by him.