Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Latest Traffic Report Puts Honolulu in ‘Top’ Spot Ahead of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York; We Waste an Average of 58 Hours Annually, but Train Riders Will Avoid ALL Highway Congestion!

 Familiar experience for motorists on Honolulu's H-1 freeway
Wait for it: Honolulu rail opponents will turn the new INRIX traffic congestion scorecard into another reason to fight the project.
The latest report from INRIX, Inc. finds Honolulu is No. 1 in the number of hours drivers wasted in traffic congestion last year – 58 on average, 2 hours more than Los Angeles drivers.

INRIX also reports on how much longer a trip takes because of congestion compared to a period of no congestion. Honolulu ranks first in that category, too – 24 percent longer.

Even so, the lost-time and index results were lower in 2011 than the year earlier due to higher gas prices and a still-soft “stop n’ go” economy, INRIX says. But there can be no mistaking the data: Traffic in "paradise" (the San Francisco Chronicle's description of Honolulu) takes a greater toll on the average driver here than anywhere else in the country.

Twisting Rail’s Contribution
Since Honolulu’s traffic congestion problem is in the east-west corridor between west Oahu and downtown, rail project supporters argue legitimately that rail will give traffic-plagued drivers a workable alternative. Rail’s 20-mile line will parallel the main east-west thoroughfares.

But rail opponents will use this same data to argue against building the system. One of their main talking points is that “traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than it is today.” Google that phrase and you find it used repeatedly by Cliff Slater and Ben Cayetano as they frame that statement as an “admission” by the city. It’s not an admission; it’s a statement of fact!

Eliminating congestion is the opponents’ goal hanging it out there like a star they can wish upon. It’s totally unrealistic, of course, since congestion is a fact of life as the INRIX report shows year after year.

Congestion will continue to grow on space-short Oahu as our population grows, and there’s nothing the opponents can propose that will make congestion go away.

But that doesn’t stop them from attacking rail – blaming it for failing to do the impossible. How ‘bout that for a strategy?

So stand by for Mr. Slater’s inevitable analysis that shows reducing the number of daily vehicle trips by 40,000 in the urban corridor in 2030 thanks to rail won’t eliminate Oahu’s congestion problem.

The one thing he won’t discuss is rail’s function as a travel alternative that will enable drivers to become riders and avoid all highway congestion on their commute. It’s an immutable truth.

This post has been added to our "aggregation site" under the Oahu's Traffic Problem heading.


Anonymous said...

You all are showing pictures of traffic congestion and accidents. Why don't you show the money $$$$$$ on how much average contributions per family/residence to convince the people that Rail is the best solution to a 900,000 population. Everything you talk here is for convenience! How about the investment that my children and grandchildren later. Be realistic and think about our future here in the County of Honolulu. Rail is long term financial commitment. I rather spend an additional 20 to 30 minutes on the road than have my grandchildren pays for the rising cost of any proposed budget of the administration under their CIP budget just to maintain this Giant Project. If our economy is good and stable probably there's a chance but not at this sinking global economy. City Resources income comes from the Taxpayers money and that's for those who voted yes to rail before are now changing their views because they are now getting educated collecting facts. Unlike before, the only thing they like is to reach to their destination faster and still that is you folks are talking about. It is the convenience vs financial $$$$$. My fellow citizens THINK ABOUt IT. YOU SAY NO NO NO TO RAIL.

Doug Carlson said...

Yes, this will cost money, but you're exaggerating the costs your grandchildren will bear -- unless you want to count the cost of an integrated bus/rail transit system that will make their lives immeasurably better. Construction costs will be paid by this generation -- yours and mine. NOT doing anything to provide an alternative to the ever-growing congestion issue on Oahu would be irresponsible for our generation. The previous generation already did that, so I disagree with you completely about your supposed benefits of doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

I urge my fellow citizens to consider yes to rail and not be short sighted. Your children and grandchildren will need mobility to live productive lives. If you want them to keep dedicating more and more of their daily hours to sitting in traffic, not starting infrastructure that provides alternate means of transportation will do it. Be realistic, how many cars can you put on an island?