Sunday, April 8, 2012

Attention, Mililani Residents: Candidate Gives You Opportunity To Quiz Him on Traffic Congestion. Ask Him How BRT Would End it. Answer: It Can’t

One of the issues mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano says he’ll discuss in Mililani on Thursday is this one: “Why rail will not reduce traffic congestion.”

That’s one way to set up the traffic congestion issue, and Mr. Cayetano intends to do just that – “set up” rail as a future failure if it can’t reduce congestion.

Cliff Slater has been positioning the project that way for years (see our “aggregation” site). By following Mr. Slater’s lead, candidate Cayetano is being every bit as disingenuous and flat-out dishonest with the facts as his mentor.

Here’s why rail won’t reduce future traffic congestion: Nothing will. Congestion increases when the population increases, as Oahu’s population will for the foreseeable future. The project expects 200,000 more Oahu residents by 2030 compared to 2005. With that kind of growth, nothing will reduce congestion – not more highways, and certainly not a new rail line.

We wrote about this two days ago and included links to studies that detail how even building new highway lanes induces and generates more traffic. By suggesting rail should be able to reduce future traffic congestion, Mr. Cayetano is either revealing a remarkable misunderstanding of congestion issues as detailed in those and many other studies or is deliberately misleading his audiences.

Ask Him This
Mr. Cayetano is inviting Mililani residents to his “Truth Squad” session in Mililani Uka Elementary School Thursday evening. Only Mililani residents will be allowed inside; his campaign will require attendees to bring proof of their Mililani residency.

Once inside, certified Mililani residents might well ask the candidate how his proposed bus rapid transit system would reduce traffic congestion. Holding BRT to the same standard as Mr. Cayetano wants to hold rail would be equitable, so that’s a must-ask on Thursday.

Ask him this as well: Will BRT patrons completely avoid congestion as rail riders will? Will BRT vehicles end up in traffic once they leave their exclusive highway lanes? What about congestion build-up as those vehicles approach the lanes’ entrance? And what is the basis for Mr. Cayetano’s assertion that BRT “will provide faster service” than rail?

Thursday night could be fun for Oahu residents lucky enough to live in Mililani. The rest of us aren’t invited.

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