Honolulu ranked worst in country for traffic

Published: May. 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM HST|Updated: May. 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM HST
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Traffic stinks. Honolulu is the worst city in the country for traffic with drivers wasting 58 hours last year sitting in congestion, according to Inrix, which just released a new traffic app.  That's almost two and a half days.  It's more than Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

"It sort of makes me think of that scene in the movie Network where they say 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore' this should be the wakeup call for everybody to say now is the time we need to get this rail project moving," said Dan Grabauskas, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation CEO.

Rail supporters are using the study as another reason why the city needs transit because traffic is only going to get worse.

"There's no congestion on the new rail system. People are going to be able to get on and be out of traffic and know you're going to be at your destination on time," said Grabauskas.

Rail opponents point out that the other cities have rail and they still sit in traffic.  And congestion will still get worse even with rail.

"The obvious thing is you have to fix your bottlenecks and add a few lanes," said Panos Prevedouros, PhD, UH Manoa Engineering Professor.

In Hawaii's case Prevedouros says there is only a mile and half of road per 1,000 people which is less than the other major cities.  He argues adding more lanes would be more effective than rail.

"Our advantage is we are small. So a modest investment in road widening or lane addition will solve the problem," said Prevedouros.

The state says they are working on some solutions including adding an evening contra flow lane along the same H1 corridor where they have the morning contra flow.  The state is also waiting on final approval to restripe the H1 from the Pali to Punahou which would make it four lanes instead of three.

"We acknowledge that there is a traffic problem here on the islands everyone knows that especially on Oahu, are we the worst I'm not sure if that's true," said Caroline Sluyter, State Department of Transportation Spokesperson.

Inrix says the worst time to be on the road in Honolulu is Tuesday evenings from 5:15 to 5:30.  The best traffic day of the week is Monday.

The worst traffic corridor in the state is H1 eastbound from Nimitz to Vineyard and that includes the Middle Street Merge.

While that corridor is the worst in the state it's actually only the 19th worst overall.  Of the 162 problem corridors in the country Hawaii only had two.  To put that in perspective Los Angeles had 35 of the worst corridors on that same list.

It's something to think about next time you're sitting in traffic.

To read more of the study results click here.

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