Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LTE Forum: Traffic Reduction Is Greatest when UH Isn’t in Session, so Here’s a Surprise: Rail’s Effect On Reducing H-1 Congestion Will Be Even Greater; Also, Majority Has Voted To Help Leeward Side

You hear this factoid all the time: Freeway driving is never so good as when the University of Hawaii at Manoa is out of session. Summertime highway travel is sublime compared to the rest of the year, and UH’s neighbors can find parking in front of their homes again.

Today’s LTE Forum uses a letter to the editor in the morning paper (subscription required) to make a crucial point about rail’s effect on congestion.

Rail won’t work without UH stop (Star-Advertiser, 1/25)
“…If you’ve sat in stop-and-go traffic from Central and West Oahu, you know like I do that the only time there ever seems to be any decrease in town-bound traffic is when the University of Hawai`i is not in session. Therefore, it is the students who need to be encouraged to utilize rail, but a route that does not reach UH will not do that. This project will not have the desired effect on traffic everyone is hoping for….”
This may come as shock to the writer and others: There will be a much greater reduction in traffic congestion because of rail than what the writer says happens when students aren’t commuting to school.

The “out-of-session” effect currently is a reduction in congestion of about 11 percent. With tens of thousands of commuters switching from driving to riding the train by 2030, the reduction in vehicle hours of delay in the urban core will be about 18 percent. In other words, rail’s effect on traffic will be 64 percent greater than the “out-of-session” effect that the writer appreciates so much.

Let’s be clear about why rail is being built. The system will provide a travel option every day of the year to those who don't want to fight congestion and sit in traffic jams. The line will be an attractive and convenient way to and from work that will completely avoid street and highway congestion.

But let’s not forget future students’ advantages in using rail even when the last leg of the trip to Manoa will be on a bus from the end of the rail line at Ala Moana Center. Taking the train and then TheBus will be quicker than driving on a traffic-clogged freeway, and it also will be extraordinarily less expensive than relying on high-priced gasoline to get to school.

More from LTE Forum
Voters showed they want rail (Star-Advertiser, 1/25)
“…How many times do Oahu residents have to tell the politicians we want the rail. Didn’t they vote on it? Why is (Ben) Cayetano so intent on going against the people’s will?... A vast majority of us, young and hard-working, needs the rail desperately.”
Rail will Help Leeward folks (Star-Advertiser, 1/25)
“Please let the rail transit project roll on its track. More buses will create more traffic. If the Leeward side had three highways to go to work and go home each day, like the Windward side, the Leeward side wouldn’t need rail. Come on, Windward and East side people – help the Leeward side ease traffic by having the rail built…”
If you’re counting, that’s two for rail and one against, and maybe even the Mililani resident who wrote that negative letter would change his tune if he were aware of the information we’ve provided today.


Anonymous said...

Majority of the people on the west side nanakuli,mail,waianae and makaha,are construction workers that will not have any use of the rail,but still have to Pay a tax for it,come on carlilse wake up boy!!!!we need Ben cayetano back it seems like he's the only one with brains!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doug Carlson said...

Paying taxes is what responsible citizens do to support the entire community's infrastructure -- e.g., schools, roads, etc. People in Hawaii Kai, windward side and the North Shore pay taxes to maintain the west side's highways even if they never drive on them, so it's reasonable for west siders to do the same for a rail system they allegedly won't ride. But more likely, they'll ride it, too.