Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Doctor’s Rail Dissing Is Demonstrably Dubious; Transit Scores Favorable Marks in USA Survey

Dr. Panos Prevedouros’s latest anti-rail column includes a suggestion that HOT lanes would be better suited than rail “…for large events at Aloha Stadium by working in-bound to the stadium before the event starts and out-bound at event’s end for quick evacuation.”

The good Dr. P seems so committed to his anti-rail arguments that he ends up asserting things that seem – well, frankly dubious and hard to swallow.

Honolulu’s rail system will continuously serve travelers going in both directions – before, during and after stadium events. Rail’s nearby station will be above Kamehameha Highway; walking to the stadium from there will take less time than from some sections of the parking lots.

Once the game’s over and patrons are aboard a train, they’ll enjoy a getaway at speeds up to 55 mps and be well on their way home while some patrons are still walking to their cars.

Factoring in TheBus

Dr. P is a committed highwayman, of course, and the thought of taking a train to Aloha Stadium is probably beyond the beyond for him. Probably even more unfathomable would be catching TheBus to a station, then the train to the stadium and reversing the steps to get home.

Committed highwaymen scoff at the idea, and some of them write newspaper columns and maintain anti-rail websites, yet walking to a station or taking a bus to one to go anywhere along Oahu’s south-shore urban corridor will be commonplace once rail is up and running.

It’ll be just too logical for Honolulu residents to ignore, and once we discover the joys of fast, frequent, reliable and safe rail service, we’ll feel as good about transit as millions of Americans across the country do already.


Anonymous said...

Panos paints a very idealistic picture that express buses go from point A to B. Yet, I have never rode any express bus routes where they are single origin stops and single destination stops. All express bus routes have multiple stops at the source area to gather pax and then multiple stops at the destination area to disperse pax. That is how express bus routes work in reality. So for Panos to badger rail on multiple stops is hypocritical. He even proceeds to describe in his vision, express bus routes reach downtown and then continue on for those who want to reach Waikiki. That, my friend, is a stop.

Anonymous said...

why do you guys still doubt a highly respected TRANSPORTATION ENGINEER!!!! What on earth makes you, a communications consultant, think that you know more about transportation than DOCTOR Prevedouros? Even if we consider rail uses other than sporting events, there are still "high traffic hours" in the regular work week! During those non-high traffic hours, the rail will still be running regardless of how many people are on it and we tax payers will have to pay for all that non-high traffic hour uses.
In my engineering economics class, one of the first things we learned was that in a project, maintenance costs far exceed building costs. if we factor in the fact that building would take around a decade, this means that within a decade, all of those precious jobs for the rail will be disintegrated, and those high maintenance costs will remain.
I think one major oversight the people of Hawaii are missing is that we need to fund a multibillion consent decree with the EPA. We will not have help from the feds. WE CANNOT AFFORD THIS CONSENT DECREE, AND FURTHERMORE THIS RAIL!

Okay, for structural engineering, this rail is pretty cool, but we need to think of the future generation! this rail is a money sink hole! how can we think about a LUXURY when we have a mandatory project to look at. Yes, we do not NEED a rail right now, especially not during this economic crisis. how can we be so selfish to build a rail when furloughs are still in effect?

continuing with this rail is fiscally irresponsible.

-from a UH Manoa Senior Civil and Environmental Engineering Student/taxpayer

Doug Carlson said...

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. Here's a short response: Your DOCTOR is a highwayman, pure and simple. Go to his self-created bio at Hawaii.edu and you'll find nothing about transit and plenty about highways -- even helicopters. Podiatrtists and heart surgeons both are doctors, but I wouldn't want a foot specialists to operate on my heart.

Use the college education you're now enjoying to develop your critical analysis skills. I'm not a transportation expert by any means, but I can recognize a one-sided, self-promoting, biased attempt to kill a desperately needed project that will pay dividends for generations when I see one. (PS: You might get "points" in the Engineering college if you switched from Anonymous to your true identity.)

melia iwamoto said...

My name is Melia Iwamoto, I was born and raised in Kaimuki and am a current CEE student at UH Manoa, planning to pursue a master's in environmental engineering. Now that that is out of the way, I took the transportation engineering class from the CEE department head, Dr. Papacostas, and yes we learned about highway and pavement and hot-lanes but nothing about transits. however, this is a complete oversight. as an engineering student, at any university, we go through rigorous training of all fields in Civil/mechanical/electrical engineering. I have taken hydraulics, wastewater, structural, materials, transportation, and geotechnical engineering classes (and will take more). Not only do we go over the engineering aspects, but the public, environmental, legal, and economic aspects of those fields. I am in no way an expert, but I have a better understanding of them than people who haven't taken those classes, or do not have experience in those fields.

Prof Prevedouros has a PhD, whereas I am still pursuing my Bachelors. So I'm sure, as a transportation engineer, he took much more rigorous classes in the 400 and 600 level (upper level courses) of all aspects of transportation engineering (including rails) and has a much better understanding about it than you or I.

Even if he does not specialize in rail, as an academic who has a good understanding about the field of transportation, I'm sure he is more than capable of getting educated about it. which goes to my next claim, what does Panos gain in opposing the rail? I'm sure that if he had found that the rail was "good" for the people of honolulu, he would support it, but he doesnt. is he just a bumbling professor who wants to piss off random people throughout hawaii? what on earth could he possibly gain?

The main reason (that i can think) that the rail is still on, despite the high costs, is the selfishness of hawaii drivers. how can we think of relieving traffic when we have other, more important, issues at hand? i.e. education, under-employment, high inflation/deflation, pollution, and re-construction of the water supply infrastructure.

I obviously have no say in this, rail will go on. my family will struggle to pay the soon to come outrageous sewage bills and taxes for the rail. I will not say I told you so, but it will be ringing in my head. I will probably have to take on more hours at work to help my family out, while continuing as a full-time student in a very difficult degree.

Doug Carlson said...

Welcome to the world of grownups, Melia. Life is complicated, with all sorts of unexpected developments that must be addressed, handled, fixed, improved, paid for, etc. Get used to it, and I would offer this advice: Life doesn't conveniently put some problems aside while we figure out what to do with others. They ALL demand our attention if they're serious enough.

Honolulu's loss of transportation mobility and our waste-water treatment requirements are both serious enough. We have to deal with them. We can't put mobility on the shelf while we figure out the sewers.

What does the good professor have to gain by obstructing rail at every turn? You'd have to ask him, but he does seem to enjoy being a politician, and he has tried to ride the anti-rail horse to some kind of political success without success. The November 2 ballot results are yet another clear and decisive rejection of his anti-rail views. Voters approved creation of the transit authority by nearly 69 percent!

All the college courses in the world can't substitute for common sense, and Honolulu citizens are using it in the 21st century to reject the 20th-century embrace of highways and cars as the preferred way to commute, build our communities, etc. You're in college in the early years of the new century and are being taught by professors who matured and advanced their careers in the last one, when the car was king. You might want to think about that.

So although I applaud your passion, I can't embrace your faith an academic whose expertise is in highways and not transit as evidenced by his own UH bio. And neither apparently can the public. Thanks for reading.