Presidents of the three most powerful nations on Earth and other regional leaders are here for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and with that concentration of political power come the security requirements you’d expect.
Social media sites have become dumping zones the past few days for residents upset about street and highway closures – precautions that truly world-class cities take in stride. Honolulu’s good citizens don’t complain about the weather much, but traffic is nearly always on their list of complaints, especially now with more than a dozen heads of state in town.
It struck us that these leaders have something in common besides their moving security bubbles. All of the national capital cities where they reside saw the need long ago to provide their residents a grade-separated transit option.
Travel mobility is a requirement for vital economic development and progress, and grade-separated transit has preserved mobility in our visitors’ hometowns. Honolulu rail will restore mobility through the urban core by the end of this decade, and that’s when we’ll have something in common with the world’s major cities represented this week at APEC.
To those who argue truthfully that these cities are all much larger than Honolulu, we'd suggest this: Honolulu's gridlock – now bad and growing worse – has robbed citizens of their mobility, which can be restored with construction of an alternative mode of transport through the southern urban corridor. Grade-separated rail works for all these larger cities, and it'll work for Honolulu, too.
Those are just a few of the dozens of world-class cities with rail transit systems that transport millions of commuters and other passengers each day. A global list would include the famed systems of Europe, Africa, South Asia, North and South America – in other words, just about everywhere. Honolulu will join the list in less than a decade.