Monday, August 15, 2011

State Makes It Final, Rejects Sumitomo Appeal; Comprehending Elevated Guideway as Essential

Once upon a time it seemed only Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) had enough media savvy to make news on the weekend. His “Golden Fleece Awards” on government waste always seemed to break on a Saturday or Sunday, and he made headlines while other politicos were asleep at the switch.

Not so anymore. The State Department of Consumer Affairs chose Sunday to post the final decision of Hearings Officer David Karlen to reject Sumitomo Corporation’s appeal of a major Honolulu rail system contract to Ansaldo of Italy.

Karlen’s decision is long, but some media boil it down to a sentence or two. Hawaii News Now says the contract award to Ansaldo “was not unreasonable based on Sumitomo’s allegations.” Civil Beat has a longer story.

Sumitomo and the other losing bidder, Bombardier, still have the option to appeal to circuit court.

Essentially Elevated

The federal defendants provided their response on Friday to the lawsuit filed by several individuals and entities to block construction of Honolulu rail. At least two of them have learned something about slow-news weekends; one distributed a press release on Saturday commenting on the response, and anti-railer-in-chief Cliff Slater posted about it on his website yesterday (look for 8/14).

We stay clear of commenting on the lawsuit itself, but the objection to elevated rail by the project’s opponents, including some plaintiffs, is fair game.

We’ve added a few photographs in our photo column at right showing one of the major disadvantages of at-grade rail compared to elevated. They speak for themselves, but for added emphasis, we’ve also reproduced (below) the links found at our July 26th “aggregation post,” a “one-stop site for pro-rail talking points.” Numerous other issues are posted there as well.

Every city with at-grade rail has had to contend with train-vehicle collisions, even Norfolk, VA, where the city’s new 7-mile at-grade line goes into revenue service a week from today. Without carrying its first passenger, "The Tide" already had its first collision with a car last Thursday.

Spend some time with these previous Yes2Rail posts, and when you do, try to imagine how an at-grade system in Honolulu’s exceptionally dense and narrow urban environment could provide fast, frequent, reliable and safe service. It couldn’t.

You may not like elevated rail's looks; that's a personal thing, but as a travel option that will completely avoid all traffic (and collisions) while achieving the project's goals, it's beautiful.

Elevated vs At-Grade – It keeps coming up, the view that at-grade rail would be a better option than Honolulu’s planned elevated system. We’ve taken pains to address the comparison numerous times:
What Every Consumer Asks When Making a Purchase: ‘Will It Do What I Need It To Do?’
Jogging & Keeping Pace with an At-Grade Train
Among At-Grade’s Negatives: Vehicle Lane Loss
Among At-Grade’s Negatives, Part 2: Accidents
When Safety Is Crucial, Think Elevated Rail
Train Meets Van in Another At-Grade Rail Collision
Phoenix Citizens Want to Know ‘What’s the Problem with All These Crashes?’
Architects Are Trying To Squeeze Through the Eye of a Needle with a Claim At-Grade Rail Is as Safe as Elevated
At-Grade’s Drawbacks Can’t Be Airbrushed Away
Human Factor Causes another At-Grade Crash; Bus Runs Light, Smashes into Houston Train; 12 Sent to Hospitals, Rail Service Halted for Hours
Car-Train Crash in Long Beach Illustrates Major Drawback to 'Cheaper' At-Grade Rail Transit
Yet To Open, Norfolk's Train Has First Car Crash

1 comment:

Railyes! said...

The Tide light rail had its 3rd collision with a motor vehicle yesterday and they are still two days away from beginning revenue service. Light rail vehicles running at grade in a mixed traffic corridor is a recipe for serious injuries and property damage.

As a transit safety professional with 23 years of experience, I can unequivocally say that elevated rail is the best choice for Honolulu.