Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rail Transit Will De-Stress ‘Black Friday’ Shopping

Look for more of the same by week's end.
We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, but without long-term visioning, where would Honolulu be? Regarding rail transit, it’s where we are right now – without it – and that means Black Friday shopping this week could be a driver's nightmare.

Honolulu came close to building a rail system two decades ago with the Fasi Administration’s elevated guideway project. That effort failed in large part due to an anti-rail campaign that continues to this day, and by the same actors, no less. (No, we’re not linking to Mr. Slater’s latest anti-rail screed this time; there’s nothing much new there, and you can find it easy enough.)

Had rail supporters’ vision of the early 1990s been realized, a rail system would have been in operation since 2003 linking Leeward Community College, the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus, Waikiki and points between. One can only imagine its impact on traffic reduction.

But a new vision is now close to being realized, and anti-railers notwithstanding, it’s OK to look ahead to how rail will improve the lives of Oahu residents.

Take Shopping – Please!

Ala Moana and Pearlridge shopping centers will be two of the stops along Honolulu’s future 20-mile rail route. With little chance of error, we predict newspaper photographs (like the one above) and TV news stories in the days ahead with images of jammed parking lots at those shopping magnets.

We won’t belabor the obvious advantages of taking transit to the centers, especially on mega-shopping days like Black Friday. But the Atlanta, GA transit system is doing just that in encouraging residents to participate in Blue Friday – part of the Clean Air Campaign to use transit and carpools on the biggest shopping day of the year.

It’s a good idea for Honolulu, too, and the options will be even better once Honolulu rail is up and running.

Yet another H-1 Smash-Up
It's becoming almost commonplace -- car crashes on the H-1 freeway, Oahu's major east-west throughway. Three crashes ("accidents" is to forgiving a word) happened within a few minutes of each other five evenings ago.
Last night's four-car crash at the height of the rush hour resulted in one driver being in critical condition, and the homeward commute was disrupted once again for countless others.

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