State Council in August|
Djou Can Help Pass Campaign Reform (Pearl Johnson)
Disturbing Facts about Rail in Leeward (Kioni Dudley)
Sustainable Agriculture Group Meets June 21 (Pearl Johnson)
League Needs Office Monitors
Legalized Gambling to Be Discussed by HSAC (Jean Aoki)
Welcome New Members
Volunteer and Get Paid
Calendar of Events
Disturbing Facts about Rail in Leeward
The city’s planned rail transit will destroy Waipahu. After decades of missing out on money and care given other parts of the island, Waipahu has recently undergone an amazing transformation, with funding for beautification secured by Senator Cal Kawamoto.
When the Ho’opili station was put into the rail plan, however, the most direct open path from that station to Honolulu was through the main street of Waipahu, Pearl City, and Aiea.
So even before the many new trees and the yellow hibiscus lining the main street reach full growth, all of the beauty will be torn out for the uglification project of the millennium.
Overhead stations the size of floating football fields will dominate each end of town. Rain and red-dirt will discolor them and the massive cement elevated spans and many supporting columns running through the town. Graffiti will turn it all into a monstrous eyesore, condemning the town to perpetual third class status.
Through the years of construction, traffic in Waipahu will be a horrendous nightmare. Only one lane in each direction will be open during rush hour. All lanes may be closed much of the day, and intersections will be shut as construction crosses them. Already choked with afternoon traffic, Waipahu will have major, debilitating traffic jams. Roadside businesses will fail. Pearl City and Aiea will experience much of the same.
None of this has to happen. Use of the old Oahu Railway and Land (OR&L) right-of-way can solve everything. If the rail follows the OR&L route, it can run at surface level at least to the stadium, still using the “steel wheels on steel rails” that we voted for, but using light rail. The right-of-way runs along the water providing a beautiful ride; can accommodate a bikeway alongside; encounters only a few cross roads in the twelve miles from Kapolei to the stadium; is already cleared of ‘iwi; and is government owned. This rail could be built for about one-fourth the money in one-fourth the time, using far more local workers than the elevated rail.
The right-of-way also extends through Kapolei to Ko’ Olina, and on up the coast to Waianae. It could become the much needed second way in and out.
If the rail began at UH West Oahu, and headed makai to the old OR&L line, it could serve H-1 and Kapolei just as well. The OR&L line then runs just below ‘Ewa. A park-and-ride at Ft. Weaver Rd. would bring rail service to Ewa and Ewa Beach. Next stop, Depot Road in Waipahu, then up behind Leeward Community College. Through Pearl City, it would run just a block or so below the current route with stops at Pearl Kai, the stadium, and entrances to Pearl Harbor. The OR&L route serves every shopping area, recreation area, and employment center on the West side.
Why was the OR&L route never seriously considered? Because it didn’t run through Ho’opili. Ho’opili, however, has recently had a perhaps lethal setback at the Land Use Commission. And polls show 87% of the people want that land kept in agriculture.
Dr. Kioni Dudley heads Friends of Makakilo. This is excerpted from an article he wrote for the Honolulu Advertiser.
Kioni Dudley, PhD
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