September 2003 Home   Newsletters

October 2003

December 2003

President's Message
Action Report (Jackie Parnell)
Primary Urban Center Development Plan (PUCDP) (Charles Carole)
Council 2003 (Malia Schwartz)
Have You Faced a Closed Door? Fair Housing... It's the Law! ( Legal Aid Society)
Action Alert - Action Needed Now to Support Clean Air ( LWV - US)


The League of Women Voters led the fight that resulted in the Honolulu City Council rejecting rail transit 11 years ago. Now new members of the same Council as well as state legislators and the governor are again talking about rail transit as a solution to traffic congestion. Like it or not, transportation will be, if it isn't already, a big hot-button issue for us.

At our December 13 planning meeting, two speakers will address the transportation problem. Cliff Slater, prominent in the fight against rail I I years ago, will reveal to us his present thoughts on transportation. I heard his address to a civil engineers group recently, and he has some truly provocative ideas. I gathered that he thinks public transit, no matter how improved, cannot significantly diminish congestion. Rather than misquoting his controversial ideas, I'll just let him tell you in person what he does advocate now. Mr. Hamayasu from the Department of Transportation supports the City's Bus Rapid Transit plan.

Going through our tiles, I found this history of the fight: The December 1989 planning meeting set up the Rail Transit Task Force chaired by Patricia Tummons (now the editor of Environment Hawaii). Just 4 months later it issued its report "Arguments For and Against a Rail Transit System for Honolulu". Lively discussion ensued at the April 14 annual membership meeting, followed by a pro/con discussion on April 30. At the consensus meeting on May 18, the decision was made to oppose rail transit.

The City administration pushed mightily for rail. But its own figures showed that rail would not reduce congestion or decrease air pollution; rail would result in negligible increase in transit riders.

League did not simply oppose rail transit. We advocated improvements to the bus system, which we called "Bus Rapid Transit." Sound familiar? That's the name of the city's present plan to improve the bus system.

Presently the Governor has been holding meetings on the mass transit problem with State and County officials. It has been rumored that the State is only interested in transit for the Kapolei to Kalihi section and not the in-town transit. The Governor had said in a September town meeting that a statement on the transit situation would be made in November.

Given League's historical support of bus transit, how shall we handle BRT now'? Some members adamantly oppose the intown portion of BRT, but not the Kapolei to Kalihi section. Taking traffic lanes from Kapiolani, Ala Moana and Dillingham Blvds. for exclusive bus use seems to be a big sticking point. If you think League should take some action, the December planning meeting is the time to speak up.

Pearl Johnson

LWV - Honolulu

President - Pearl Johnson
Vice President - Jackie Parnell
Secretary - Robin Loomis
Treasurer - Malia Schwartz
Editor - Anna Hoover

Marsha Joyner resigned October 16, 2003 from the Board of Directors.
Aloha and Mahalo

September 2003 Home   Newsletters December 2003