Wednesday, May 18, 2011

‘Everybody’s Looking for Something….’

West LA residents rally to support bus-only lanes.
We suggested yesterday that some mainland transportation concepts aren’t directly translatable to Oahu – among them, perhaps, highway flyovers that may not fly here. We’re reconnecting today with Los Angeles and a proposal that would help residents there achieve what Oahu residents will enjoy with Honolulu rail – faster, healthier and cleaner commuting.

The Wilshire Bus Only Lanes proposal would create a 7.7-mile stretch on which only buses would be allowed in the right hand lanes during rush hour along Wilshire into West Los Angeles.

One observer called it a “kumbaya moment” when both the Bus Riders Union and the Southern California Transit Advocates (pro-rail) group joined forces to support the proposal by lobbying three LA city council members.

The advocates recruited community-based groups to support the proposal, such as the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance. Representing the Alliance, Seung Hye Suh’s description of the benefits to be realized by the Bus Only Lanes project might well apply to Honolulu rail:

“A project like this holds out so much promise to unite our city and our communities and move us in the direction we must take in the 21st century… We can reduce the greenhouse gases that are killing our planet and make bus (rail) travel a more attractive option for commuters who have a choice. We can encourage a healthier and less sedentary mode of life as we clean the air we all breathe.”

LA residents are seeking a speedier route to work and health care facilities, such as the Veterans Hospital on Wilshire, using bus-only lanes. Some push-back is coming from those who don’t believe banning cars from the right hand lane would be a positive way to address traffic concerns. Here in Honolulu, the elevated rail system will leave surface street lanes intact and open for vehicles as it transports more than 100,000 daily riders through the urban core.

"Everybody’s looking for something," according to the Eurythmics. In transportation, that something is freedom from traffic congestion, and each city seeks it in its own way.

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