seeking cost-effective ways to reduce traffic congestion in Honolulu
It's final: Traffic congestion will be worse with rail:
Don't take it from us; take it from the Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator, Leslie Rogers, and the City Director of Transportation, Wayne Yoshioka. Here's what Yoshioka said,
“You are correct in pointing out that traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail, and that is supported by data included in the Final EIS. In fact, projections suggest that traffic conditions will be worse in 2030 under any circumstances [studied in the EIS]. The Alternatives Analysis supports this statement as does the analysis of transportation impacts in the Final EIS. The comparison that is key to the Project is that rail will improve conditions compared to what they would be if the Project is not built.”” (bottom of page 1251 of Appendix A, Final EIS, http://www.honolulutraffic.com/FinalEIS/AppendixA_D.pdf)
And here is what FTA's Regional Administrator wrote,
“Many commenters [on the Draft EIS] reiterated their concern that the Project will not relieve highway congestion in Honolulu. FTA agrees, but the purpose of the Project is to provide an alternative to the use of congested highways for many travelers. This alternative to the use of highways is especially important for households that cannot afford an automobile for every person in the household who travels for work or for other reasons.” FTA's Record of Decision page 208 of 217.
Even worse is the fact that when you read the rationale for building rail in the Final EIS, you find that they never had any intention of reducing traffic congestion below today's unbearable levels.
Traffic congestion after we get rail transit
The city is very coy in talking about future traffic congestion. In their public statements they talk reducing traffic congestion but not in the documents that have to be submitted to the federal government.
For example, Mayor Hannemann told Hawaii Senate and House Committees on January 31, 2007, "I look forward to working with you as we tackle traffic congestion — one of the most vexing quality of life issues facing Oahu's residents." Here are others:
This video of, May Hannemann and Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s city “Traffic sucks!” rally held on December 5th, 2005, typifies the grossly misleading statements emanating from our elected officials. http://mfile.akamai.com/12891/wmv/vod.ibsys.com/2005/0707/4695365.200k.asx
“Hannemann said the yet-to-be-determined form of transit would run from Kapolei to downtown and the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. He said the system will help all parts of the island, easing traffic overall because ‘there'll be less cars on the road.’” http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/May/12/ln/ln02p.html
Mayor’s Press Secretary: “Slater misrepresents just about everything Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Transportation Ser vices Director Ed Hirata and other supporters of transit have said, from the timing of federal requirements to tax calculations, highway capacity and a rail system's potential to ease traffic congestion.” http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/Aug/10/op/508100321.html
Transcript of Councilmember Barbara Marshall questioning U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) http://hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?696a58e3-9a81-411e-b977-2688f5595685
“Mayor Mufi Hannemann chided Lingle at the rally and said the city needs a rail system to alleviate increasing traffic congestion. U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, also blasted a possible veto and said that he and the rest of Hawaii have had enough of the traffic problems. He said commuters are fed up and don't need anymore Lingle lanes filled with traffic congestion.” http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2005/07/04/daily18.html?t=printable
However, in the Alternatives Analysis (AA), which very few people read, we learn that, "Traffic congestion on key corridor facilities is expected to continue to exist under all alternatives, particularly during peak travel periods." (AA, p. S-3)
Even this statement does not really tell us how bad traffic is going to get. For that we have to go to the fine print in table 3-12 of the AA. Here we learn that the Volume/Capacity ratio for H-1 at "Kalauao Stream Koko Head bound" (H-1 regular lanes where they are abreast of Pearl Ridge Shopping Center town bound during the peak hours) is presently 15 percent over its capacity,,which is why it is so congested. When we look in last but one column for "Kalaeloa - Halekauwila" rail transit alternative for 2030, we find that this V/C ratio increases to 1.81, or 81 percent over capacity. This is an amount of congestion that is difficult to comprehend unless you were caught in the H-1 traffic on Martin Luther King Day early in 2007..
The AA is a document that has to go to the Federal Transit Administration.