Monday, November 1, 2010

Helping Search Engines Find Dr. Prevedouros

We’re convinced that helping publicize the anti-rail views of Dr. Panos Prevedouros of the University of Hawaii and decades-long opponent Cliff Slater is an excellent way for this blog to support the Honolulu rail project.

The more their views are highlighted, the more vulnerable their anti-rail positions become to common-sense analysis. That being the case, we have to fess up to a serious error of judgment last month – the failure to mention Dr. Prevedouros’s name in some of our posts.

Thanks to our SiteMeter tracking service, we know that many visitors find this site after using a search engine. By referring to Dr. Prevedouros’s recent series of columns in Hawaii Reporter but not mentioning him by name in some posts, we discouraged visits by anyone who might have searched for him.

Correcting the Mistake

Dr. Prevedouros’s series represents one of the best tools we’ve found to cast doubt on his high occupancy toll (HOT) road proposals. We started our own four-part series on his columns on October 16 by quoting Dr. Prevedouros (by name) to highlight the key principle behind HOT lanes:

“Higher tolls are necessary to discourage overloading.” In other words, the HOT lane promise to keep traffic flowing is premised on keeping tolls so high that only those who can afford to pay them can access the lanes. We thank Dr. Prevedouros for his quote.

Two days later we used his quote that rail would be “….unable to be of any use during an emergency such as freeway closure, flooding, hurricane and tsunami.” Only a rock-ribbed rail opponent could conclude that Honolulu rail would be an ineffective transportation option if the H-1 freeway were closed.

But it was in our two most recent posts on Dr. Prevedouros’s series that we messed up by not specifically mentioning his name. Our October 22 post observed that having Dr. Prevedouros judge the Honolulu rail project was “like having the East Germans score America’s gymnastics team” in the Olympics. His career-long preference for highway transportation over transit makes any such evaluation suspect (note the absence of transit in his background).

Finally, our October 29 post concluded that Dr. Prevedouros used a highly questionable analysis to compare rail and HOT lanes by lumping in all possible happenstances that a rail passenger might confront (including pickpocket crime) while leaving out potential incidents for car drivers (including something as obvious as vehicle crashes).

By using Dr. Prevedouros’s name 11 times (including the headline) in today’s post, we’ve increased the potential for web searches to find Yes2Rail’s assessment of his anti-transit series. We encourage everyone to read his opinion pieces. They help make the case for Honolulu’s future elevated, traffic-free, fast, frequent, reliable, safe and cost-effective rail system.

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