Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More Analysis of Slater’s Deceptive Messaging on Rail: He Simply Doesn’t Want You To Understand that Oahu’s Traffic Density Justifies the Project

Today’s post is the fourth consecutive one on how leading rail opponent Cliff Slater manipulates data to confuse the public on Honolulu rail.
And if you’ve been manipulated, it follows that others who rely on Mr. Slater’s counsel also are suffering from his wildfire of misinformation.

Yes2Rail’s Thursday, Friday and Monday posts – all written to help educate Honolulu residents about the rail project – examined this central question: Will building rail improve traffic congestion on Oahu?

Mr. Slater says the change produced by adding the rail infrastructure “would not be a noticeable difference,” whereas the truth of the matter is that it will be a big improvement where congestion builds up to nearly intolerable levels. Please read those posts.

Today we examine the most recent post at his website (July 8) under the headline “Low Population Density Dooms Rail.” He and fellow anti-railer Dennis Callan attempt to make the case that Honolulu’s population density is too low to make rail work effectively.

“Rail transit requires concentrated populations living and working in walking distance of the stations,” they write, “and we just don’t have that along the proposed rail route.”

Flawed Argument
And there you have yet another manipulation by the anti-rail set, which is alive and active throughout the country. Here’s how the Flawed Urban Rail Arguments website addresses the allegation that “most American cities are not dense enough to support urban rail projects.”

“Even a city with a relatively low overall population or employment densities could have a specific corridor that sees a lot of traffic; for example, a freeway that serves downtown (or some other major activity center) from the suburbs may see a high degree of traffic density, especially during the AM or PM rush hour. The level of traffic density (generally defined as the number of passenger-miles per route mile) along this route might justify some type of transit infrastructure, including rail, especially if it were tied to suburban park-and-ride facilities (after all, not everybody walks to bus stops or rail stations, even though the "cities are not dense enough to support rail" argument tends to imply such).”

Few if any would argue that traffic on the H-1 freeway isn’t dense.  Honolulu already has one of the worst congestion issues in the nation. One study says it’s absolutely the worst based on the number of hours Honolulu citizens waste in traffic. The Flawed Arguments website section concludes:

“The point is that a city's overall density in terms of population, employment or housing is not an indicator of urban rail's ability to be effective; rather, it is traffic density - the amount of people traveling along a particular route - that's important.”

By using population density to focus their criticism of Honolulu rail, Messrs. Slater and Callan steer attention away from an equally valid and, for Honolulu, more relevant measurement of density.

Maybe these two rail opponents are innocently using population density as their measurement standard, but based on Mr. Slater’s well-established pattern, we doubt there's anything innocent in his latest data manipulation and attempt to influence public opinion against Honolulu rail.


Roy Kamisato said...

According to the Brookings Institute Honolulu is the most densely populated city per urban square mile in the country. Brookings also found that higher density urban areas (less sprawl) saves wetlands and prime agriculture. http://www.brookings.edu/es/urban/publications/fulton.pdf

This density will increase with the addition of Traffic Oriented Development which will follow the construction of the rail stations. When trying to deceive you talk total population, when trying to be factual you talk population and traffic density.

Hannah Miyamoto said...

Two reasons why Slater is clearly wrong about population density:

1. Honolulu is the most densely populated metro area in the U.S., so says the Brookings Institution.


(Since we're a island and given current trends, Honolulu will be as densely populated as Berlin in a few years)

2. The City already supports--at great expense--the 4th best patronized bus system in the U.S., on a passengers/revenue hour basis. SOMEBODY is riding the bus, and those same "somebodies" will support the train when it relieves the heaviest routes of the bus system.

Anonymous said...

does this blog die once the funding is gone?

Anonymous said...

Low population density? I did a census search with Google a few years ago and found that Honolulu's population density (for the year 2000) was roughly equivalent to Newark, NJ (and that's very dense).
Anyway,today, KITV reported that Daniel Grabaukas has cancelled your contract to write this blog. If this means the column is going away, I'm sorry to see it go. You seemed one of the few who understood the problem. It seems most Honolulu have no idea what a rail system can do, it is all foreign to them. They only understand what runs on rubber tires.

Anonymous said...

It's so sad that some have fallen under Slater's spell or decided to use his arguments as a false pretext for other agendas.