Friday, August 19, 2011

Advice during APEC Meet: ‘Stay Off the Roads’; Honolulu’s TheBus Ranks 1st for Access in USA

It’s Statehood Day in Hawaii, a holiday for the sizeable state and county workforce. The road sounds drifting up from the nearby thoroughfare are noticeably muted compared to a normal weekday, but traffic is always on the minds of Oahu drivers.

One has asked the Star-Advertiser’s transportation columnist whether the routes of dignitaries attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November (a big deal here) will be known in advance. Street and highway closures to accommodate visiting presidents, princes and potentates are especially bothersome in Honolulu’s long and narrow urban corridor.

Predictably, their routes won’t be advertised for security reasons. Writes columnist Gene Park (subscription):

“The best advice I can give is to think about what route you would normally take from the airport to Waikiki, and avoid that same route at all costs. There aren’t that many ways into Waikiki, so use your best judgment and stay off the roads.”

Stay off the roads? That’s good generic advice to avoid traffic jams but impractical for countless employees who must be out on them to do their jobs.

Now, what if there were an alternative to using streets and highways to travel through the urban core – something that moved travelers quickly from place to place without a care in the world about surface congestion? It would provide fast, frequent, reliable and safe transportation day or night, rush hour or holidays, dignitaries be darned.

That something, of course, will be Honolulu’s elevated rail system, which is scheduled to begin full operations between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center in 2019. Visiting dignitaries and their staffs who want to do some high-end shopping while in Honolulu could head straight to the shopping center from the Airport station by train and avoid all of us on the streets below.

We’re Number One!

The Brookings Institution has published a report that finds Honolulu is far better served by the city’s transit service – TheBus – than transit in most other cities across the country.

Here’s Honolulu’s “Transit Accessibility Profile” as compiled by Brookings:

Honolulu ranks #1 among 100 metropolitan areas in the study’s category that combines Coverage, Service Frequency and Job Access. That has a lot to do with our population concentration along the coastline, and that has a lot to do with why Honolulu rail will be a success.

1 comment:

sumwonyuno said...

Rail will be too late for APEC, but hopefully real construction will start by then.