Monday, June 11, 2012

Anti-Rail Leader Accuses City of Lying about Rail’s Traffic Impact as He Misleads Public on Benefits, Plus: First Column Is Opponents’ Worst Nightmare

“Hoist with One’s Own Petard” – Meaning: “injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others."
Today’s post is linked from our “aggregation site” under the heading Mr. Cliff Slater (and Friends) and provides more evidence of Mr. Slater’s chief anti-rail tactic – the use of misleading information.
He does it each time he says “traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than it is today” – a factual statement that implies rail will be a failure if it can’t reduce congestion. That’s Mr. Slater’s primary goal – to make automobile travel easier.
What he doesn’t tell audiences: (1) Congestion inevitably worsens as the population increases; (2) Not even adding more highway lanes lessens congestion, and (3) Rail is the only way to travel through the city that’s guaranteed to be congestion- and delay-free.
Here’s where the phrase “hoist with one’s own petard” comes in. In his website’s June 7 post headlined Another Lie of Omission (highlighted at Hawaii Free Press), Mr. Slater accused the city of deliberately misleading the public on the rail system’s future impact on reducing traffic congestion.
He reproduced Table 3-12 from the Final Environmental Impact Statement (at right) showing a reduction of only 1.7 percent in daily vehicle trips with rail in place in 2030 compared the no-build option. But these are island-wide daily trips that include all vehicle trips anywhere on the island – East Honolulu, the Windward Side, the Waianae Coast, North Shore, in town, etc.
In other words, it’s a meaningless comparison, since the only legitimate measure of rail’s impact on congestion is in the urban core through which the line will run – and where congestion occurs.
Table 3-14 shows rail’s anticipated reduction in Vehicle Hours of Delay – a measure of congestion. With rail, VHD will be reduced by 18 percent, which you’d expect most people outside the rock-ribbed anti-rail contingent to recognize as a significant improvement on congestion in the east-west urban corridor.
Mr. Slater ends his June 7 post with a dictionary definition of a lie – "something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.”  That's Mr. Slater’s standard operating procedure in his decades-long opposition to mass transit projects here. That’s why we’re linking this Yes2Rail post at the “aggregation site.”
Column #1
This is one sweet sight for proponents of the Honolulu rail project – column #1 of the 700 similar structures that will support the line’s 20-mile elevated guideway between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center.

Because it will be elevated, the system will carry passengers above all surface congestion. Commuters and others who choose rail will make the trip between those two end points in 42 minutes each time they ride, no matter how bad traffic or the weather conditions might be.

The column stands 23 feet 9 inches near Farrington Highway in East Kapolei; additional columns are scheduled to be poured this week. Saturday’s media tour included Mayor Peter Carlisle and Dan Grabauskas, executive director of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. 

For more photographs and video coverage, visit the HART and KHON2 websites.


Roy Kamisato said...

A great example of traffic gridlock and elevated or underground transit systems is Tokyo. Elevated rail and subways have done nothing to ease traffic congestion in Tokyo. Using Cliff Slaters argument Japan should immediately begin to dismantle their transit systems because it fails to solve their traffic gridlock problem. The anti-rail response will be that Oahu does not have the population of Tokyo, which is followed by we are not building the Tokyo rail or subway system here. The Honolulu rail system is being built to meet the growing West Oahu traffic needs.

Anonymous said...

Doug, Why must local public transportation users have an option built just for them (6% on Oahu), that 'guarantees a congestion-free and delay-free' travel option at the cost of $5.2B and counting on the backs of the other 80% who drive automobiles on substandard roads, and who must endure the personal responsibility of whatever roadblocks encountered -(small kine road delays, maybe no delays, parking fees, car insurance taxes, safety check taxes, gas price manipulation and tax hikes at the pump, meter fees, repairs, and so on, you get the point), yet the 80% now need to pay even more for rail so that current bus riders (6%) can have a new $6b+ 'option' called rail?

Anonymous said...

Also, Bus routes are being cut currently island wide over an $8 milllion shortfall/increase, you think that hurts public transit ridership if service cuts begin now on TheBus while multi-billions begin to be spent on the rail in the middle of agricultural fields with zero ridership?
We see if Hoopilii residents ride, oh, that's right, they don't exist. Only dirt and city bus cuts.

Doug Carlson said...

TO ANONYMOUS-ON-TOP ABOVE: I'm tempted to ask you to list the taxpayer-subsidized services you use so I can find some I NEVER use and thereby object to your free ride at my expense. Do you have school-age children in public schools? I don't, so why pay for their support. Do you ever fly to Lihue and use that airport? I seldom do, so why should I support your use of an airport only a small percent of Hawaii residents ever use?

But more seriously, it seems like you begrudge people who will ride the train because you can't, won't or choose not to ride it. Get out of your "me first" mindset and focus only on this: There is no travel option in the urban corridor today that avoids congestion. Anybody who needs to travel east-west through that corridor inevitably is stuck in traffic. We need a traffic-free option, and it doesn't matter who benefits and who doesn't. It's missing, and going forward, Oahu can't afford to NOT build that option.

TO ANONYMOUS-ON-THE-BOTTOM ABOVE: The people society relies on to plan the infrastructure of the future have a longer time horizon than you obvious do, which is the present. Where do you think families in the future will live if housing isn't provided for them in the near term? Do you think congestion growth can continue without an option to sitting in it?

Our City is laid out in a long and narrow configuration, perfect for a rail "spine" to which a hub-and-spoke bus system will be connected. You don't really think the city intends to make the bus/train system NOT work efficiently, do you?

Get out of the present and think long-term future, and you may just conclude that building the rail system is essential to the island's future viability -- and that includes your grandchildren's grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Doug,
First off, my wife and I have no kids, I ride the bus and a bicycle and share one car between the two of us. Second, you didn't answer my questions that I asked you Sir, and then you go and ask ME 6 questions in your reply to my questions: You failed to answer...#1.Why must a new $6 billion dollar 'option' for only 6% on Oahu (current bus riders) be placed on the backs of the already burdened local taxpayer? (When is enough, enough?) and #2. Do you think current bus cuts hurt transit ridership even as the city spends billions today on rail built on farmlands? -Try again Doug.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of free rides Doug, TheBus should be free to ride for all local Oahu residents, since they already pay the rail GETax and 70% to subsidize yearly operations and maintenance costs for all public transit now anyway. Tourists could still be charged a fare to ride, but if you wanted to increase the public transit ridership on Oahu today, this would be the best way to go for our local residents.
Oh, that's right, the city is cutting back the bus service today...strange logic while spending billions for rail now.

Doug Carlson said...

To the two Anonymous post immediately above: Answers to your questions:
(1) Because this is a "community" that cares enough about those caught in the worst traffic congestion in the nation to do something about it, even if it costs a lot, and (1) I won't know the effect of those cuts until time passes and evaluations can be done, but I suspect the City has thought through the cost-benefit ratio and has conclude the cuts are worth it in the short and long run.

Regarding your second post immediately above, "free rides for all local Oahu residents" would increase your taxes. Are you prepared for that? I doubt it. And I also doubt ridership would spike on TheBus. If ridership did increase drasmatically as you suggest, all those extra buses would clog up the streets even moe.

Look, Anonymous -- I know you will never see a reason to build rail because you don't like the cost, don't like that it will serve "too few people" in your estimation. It's OK for you and me to disagree. Rail isn't for everbody, but as a new travel option that doesn't exist today in the most heavily-traveled corridor, it will do the job it's designed to do.