Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Honolulu Traffic Lights: 12 Minutes for One Half Mile in Waikiki!

On Good Friday I had the opportunity to observe the typical gridlock traffic conditions of a busy Friday in Waikiki.  Then I found a perfect object to monitor.  An articulated (bendy) city bus with the number 154 stencilled on its roof. I tracked it as it motored along on Kalia Street, made a left turn onto Saratoga Street and eventually crossed Kalakaua Avenue and disappeared from my view.

The total distance from the Hale Koa hotel to Kalakaua Avenue is 0.55 miles.  An acceptable speed for buses is 7 miles per hour including stops so this distance would have taken 4.7 minutes.

Bus 154 took 6 minutes to reach Saratoga at an average speed of 3 mph, and took another 6.5 minutes to cross Kalakaua Avenue at an average speed of 2.3 mph which is much slower than walking speed for most people (3.1 mph according to Google.)

Fantastically, a day earlier I get a call from KHON2 News. They wanted my opinion on the city's
new multimillion dollar proposal to synchronize its traffic lights.  So I marvel at the fact that instantly upon getting elected to City Council, Stanley Chang knew that rail will be Oahu's savior for traffic congestion.  (I met him and he told me that.) Yet it took Stanley three years and a candidacy for U.S. Congress to figure out that Honolulu's traffic signals work poorly and now he wants to fix all of them at once with a five million dollar study!

Ineffective hyperbola rules the day in Honolulu. A day before the traffic project announcement, the president of HART promised to deliver 10 miles of elevated rail with ten stations and operating trains 36 months from April 2014.  I'll bet him $36,000 that this is NOT possible!

What can I say?  We certainly need more lawyers like Kirk Caldwell (Mayor), Stanley Chang (City Council), Ivan Lui-Kwan (HART president) and Mike Formby (City Transportation Director) in charge of Oahu traffic and mobility. All blah-blah and promises while traffic and buses crawl at 3 miles per hour.