Monday, June 13, 2011

Whoa!! Horse Trailer Flip Stalls Freeway Traffic

Along with death and taxes, another certainty in life is that something will happen in front of you on the freeway when you’re pressed for time that will prolong your commute to or from work.

Maybe Oahu’s biggest prolongation ever happened on September 5, 2006 – “Black Tuesday” – when an excavator being transported on an Army flatbed truck slammed into an overpass on the H-1 freeway. Tens of thousands of homeward-bound commuters were stopped for hours, and some spent the night in Waikiki hotels rather than wait out the hours-long traffic jam.

The mini-gallery in the column at right shows various H-1 blockages, and we’ll have to add another one to the list. A gust of wind yesterday is blamed for flipping a horse trailer on the westbound H-1 before the Pearl City off-ramp. Several lanes were closed during the cleanup, and the injured horse later died.

The late-morning Sunday mishap was probably more inconvenient than aggravating, since it didn’t affect many if any commuters, but it did serve as a reminder that highway traffic is inherently vulnerable to delay – both frequent and unanticipated.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic is common on the H-1 during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and even noontime traffic bogs down far too often. As traffic worsens with Oahu’s inevitable population growth, Honolulu rail’s commuting alternative will become ever more important and valuable.

Grade-separated transit is the only commuting mode that allows users to accurately predict their time of arrival at their destination before they even leave the station. You can’t do that consistently if you drive or take TheBus; there's just too much usual and unexpected traffic congestion.

Honolulu rail’s trains will operate on a timetable. That’s something you can count on.

Check this out: The comments below Yes2Rail posts are worth reading, since they often contain valuable lessons and insights. Friday's post has a couple we'd bring to your attention.

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