My review was based upon the DEIS section 4F dated November 2008 and particularly of chapter three on transportation impacts. Many of my comments refer to the supplementary report “Transportation Technical Report, Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, Prepared for: City and County of Honolulu, 417 pp, August 15, 2008” which includes much more detail and explanations on the traffic and transportation analyses that were the foundation of the results presented in the DEIS.
- DEIS Does not Assess the Impacts of the Project as Defined to the Public
This is a hugely critical simplification and it must be rectified with a Supplemental DEIS. The DEIS should have included both the full project and the 20 mile minimum operating segment or fundable project or whatever the City wishes to call it. The people’s understanding is that the rail system is Kapolei to UH with service to Waikiki. The routes beyond the Ala Moana Center are necessary to be assessed in the DEIS. We do not ask the city to assess its mayor’s obfuscations of future rail service from Hawaii Kai to Waianae, but the proposal always has been Kapolei to UH.
A Supplemental DEIS is required to assess the impacts for the whole corridor. It is not possible to begin the system, finish it to Ala Moana Center, and when it comes time to expand it, the expansion impacts are such that preclude any expansion.
- Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Potential Was Not Assessed
The question then is... What's the impact of station generated traffic, noise and pollution to TOD potential and TOD plans? Where is the discussion and assessment?
This author clearly recalls incumbent mayor Hanneman’s beating of political opponent Ann Kobayashi for her complaining about the rail guideway going over the H-1 freeway on its way to the UH-Manoa campus. Both City and Hannemann vigorously and rudely disclaimed this in the September to November 2008 time frame but then the City presents this image on the official website as of February 4, 2009. the proposed rail clearly overflies the freeway!
The Ala Moana Center station arrangement is a mystery. In the 20 mile plan, the station is approximately at the 3rd floor level. In the 30 mile plan the station is approximately at the 6th floor level. What is the exact plan for the Ala Moana Station and how can the guideway expand past the Ala Moana Center given the density, and height of buildings along Kona Street and Atkinson Drive?
This author suspects that roughly half a billion dollars would need to be expended to reconfigure (that is, to demolish and reconstruct) the guideway alignment between Pensacola Street and Atkinson Drive, including the demolition of the 3rd floor station and the creation of a 6th floor station, if rail has any hope in reaching UH-Manoa or Waikiki via Kona Street.
There is no explanation for this particularly wide double tracking by Aloha Stadium. What’s the purpose, why has it not presented in detail and what is the cost of it?
- OMPO Never Rejected Pearl Harbor Tunnel as Claimed in Table 2-2
- Federal Funding
The project must not start until the full extent of the federal funding is known in writing as part of the next Transportation Act of Congress, and the project should not start until a substantial portion of the federal funding (e.g., a portion that covers half of the cost of the first construction phase) has been actually released for the project. Anything else is simply reckless public policy.
To refresh our collective memory, the Federal Transit Administration retracted their record on decision (ROD) for Honolulu's 2003 BRT plan because construction along Kuhio and Auahi Streets was started prior to completing the necessary Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA). Here the stakes are much higher for the local economy and ground must not been broken until the project gets real federal cash (as opposed to political announcements by Abercrombie, Hannemann and Oberstar.)
- How Will the Rail Cars Go to the Rail Yard?
- Travel Times by Rail for Political Commercials and for NEPA Documents—Why the Double Standard?
- TheBus Inventory
At any given time, what percentage of these buses are service ready as opposed to being in repairs or waiting for repairs or parts, or damaged and beyond repair awaiting replacement?
It is my understanding that a lot of buses (about 20%) sit at depots during peak periods and express bus “crush loads” are artificial due to limited scheduling of buses. A case in point is the picture shown above. It was taken at about 6:30 AM on a normal weekday in 2004. The freeway is bumper-to-bumper in the town-bound direction, yet at least 53 buses sit at the depot, many of them articulated (which are typically assigned to the express routes.) How can TheBus “burst at the seams” as a pro-rail commercial claimed in late 2008 when many of the buses sit empty at the depot?
- Unrealistic Fares
So the DEIS assumed that fares are the same as TheBus, which given the cost to build and operate the rail, this means that trips are essentially free to users and the general public pays for it. How can this possibly be reconciled with the Council’s desire to cover 30% out of the fare box?
What kind of administrator, engineer and planner does it take to build a five billion dollar transit service and then charge a dollar per ride? I must have this answered so we are able to teach our students this “new math.”