Opponents Say Rail Won't Help Traffic Congestion

Melvin Kaku
Melvin Kaku
Cliff Slater
Cliff Slater

HONOLULU (KHNL) - People aren't getting the whole story when it comes to Oahu's mass transit system. That comes from one group who says there is a better option to help.

It's elevated overhead lanes, or hot lanes. The Hawaii Highway Users Alliance says it's the best bet to alleviate the island's traffic congestion.

"It would take so much traffic off the existing highways, that we would relieve traffic congestion on the regular H-1," said group member Cliff Slater.

"Clearly our studies have, to date, shown that's not viable alternative," said Melvin Kaku, director of the city's Department of Transportation Services.

The city's plans for a fixed rail mass transit system are moving full speed ahead. But HHUA says we should hit the breaks before making a big mistake.

"The city is not saying explicitly, to the public, that traffic congestion with rail will be far worse than it is today," said Slater.

The group says the city's own study shows that a rail system gets a failing grade when it comes to alleviating traffic congestion in the year 2030.

"The game is to not do anything about highways," said Slater.

"Instead, build up public transportation in the hope everyone will use it. And they can't point to another city where that's happened."

Kaku would not comment on that.

"We had to serve an expected population in the 2030 time frame, that there were certain predicted traffic conditions, and the fixed guideway was the best technical solution to meet all those criteria," said Kaku.

City officials say that criteria also includes cost, proposed stops, noise levels, and participation. Officials say elevated lanes -- like the ones the group favors -- falls short.

"They're in love with trains, and it's what we call a faith based initiative," said Slater. "You just have to have faith in it because you can't point to anywhere in the United States where it's working."

Kaku also reiterates that the mayor, council, and majority of the people support a rail system.

There are three public meetings. Officials want you to comment on the impact a mass transit system would have on the environment.

Wednesday, March 28

Kapolei Hale

6 pm to 9 pm

Thursday, March 29

McKinley High School cafeteria

6 pm to 9 pm

Tuesday, April 3

Salt Lake Elementary School cafeteria

6 pm to 9 pm

Comments can also be submitted to the web links on this page.