Friday, September 30, 2011

‘Paradigm Shift’ Coming with Rail Project Launch; Worry about Station Parking Is So ‘Last Century’

Honolulu’s grade-separated transit project has been decades in the marking, and we’re able now to imagine – if not yet see – the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

City Transportation Services director Wayne Yoshioka spoke Wednesday evening at a rail town hall meeting and briefly mentioned a “paradigm shift” that’s ahead regarding travel mobility in our Honolulu.

Yoshioka, who’s a Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board member, didn’t mention specifics about this shift, but we can imagine where he was going. Rail opponents have given us a glimpse of why a new paradigm is sure to come. (For a particular kind of commuting paradigm shift, see the end of this post.)

Consider this paragraph lifted from the four leading opponents’ August 21st anti-rail newspaper commentary:

“The city has led people to think they could drive their cars to nearby rail stations, then ride a train into town. But the city is planning to provide parking at only four of the 21 stations. Where will commuters park their cars? The airport charges $15 per day.”

And this from a September 14th Hawaii Public Radio talk show, spoken by the commentary’s “co-author” Randall Roth:

“When we’ve talked to people who’ve initially said they plan to take the train, our first question is, where do you live? Let’s look to see how far that is from a train station. Where are you gonna park? There are 21 stations and there’s only going to be parking at four of them. The city’s going to provide parking at four. Well, maybe they can go to the airport. That’s $15 a day, and that adds up after a while.”

Where Will We Park?
This question says volumes about the mindset of the rail opposition leadership that’s been assembled by Honolulu’s all-time anti-railer Cliff Slater. We’ve been making the same point continuously in recent Yes2Rail posts – that Mr. Slater and his friends misstate almost every issue involving Honolulu rail.

They misstate its goals, the extent of public support for rail and even the expectation of how most people will travel to and from the system’s stations. (They might want to update their information on the cost to park cars at those four stations; the current plan is to make it free.)

Where will they park? For tens of thousands of daily train riders, the answer is at home!

Most commuters won’t drive to the rail stations. They’ll leave their cars parked at home all day. They’ll walk. They’ll take TheBus. They’ll be dropped off. They’ll be part of the paradigm shift that Mr. Yoshioka says is coming – and it’s about time.

Asking “Where will they park?” betrays an inability to imagine anything but a car-centric society – a paradigm that explains suburban development in the 20th century but not the progressive development concepts we’ll embrace in this one.

Where will they park? They’ll leave their cars parked at home. How’s that for a paradigm shift?

Video for the Weekend

The Washington Improv Theater entered a short film contest this summer and won Best Film, Best Acting Ensemble and Best of Selection among the D.C. films. Says a Washington-based website, “…the message of the video is timeless and speaks to one of the realities of mass transit.” The Improve Theater folks created and executed the film in only two days and notes: “Family is wherever you find it.”

Some people find it on a train. Watch it here.

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