Posted by: loomisisc | February 25, 2010

Columnists Weigh in on Honolulu Rail

Island Insights host, Dan Boylan shared his thoughts on the Honolulu rail project today in the new issue of Midweek. He considers Red Hill to be a dividing line in Honolulu and among those who support and oppose the rail project. He noted that,

“The largest high schools, intermediate schools and elementary schools are to be found – with an exception or two – west of Red Hill, the only place where most couples of child-bearing age have been able to purchase homes.”

The current rail route is set to serve these communities directly, with transit-oriented development plans for West Oahu in the near future. Prominent blogger Ian Lind criticized recent real estate coverage, in the following:

“Advertiser reporter Sean Hao provided an update on transit-oriented development along the rail route and reports interest is slow in developing…it’s interesting that Hao quotes a number of people but the city’s manager of transit-oriented development is not among them. That omission stands out after Honolulu Weekly’s interview with TOD manager Terrance Ware just last week.”

[On a similar note, there was a colorful letter to the Weekly printed today from former editor and current resident of San Francisco, Curt Sanburn, on Terrance Ware’s interview.]

Above all, the current route and transit-oriented development is designed to improve efficiency in the lives of local people as they commute between school, work and home.  The rail project is especially key to getting people back to work and reviving our weak economy. Boylan wrote,

“Among the governor’s concerns are whether Hawaii’s slumping economy can afford to build the system. How can Oahu afford not to build it?

Political columnist Jerry Burris, also characterized the importance of the rail project through Mayor Hannemann’s recent stump speech.

“Hannemann also made a virtue of his support for what has become a controversial municipal project, the multibillion-dollar rail transit project… He is the big boss of the biggest city in what is, let’s face it, a fairly small state. The buck stops at his desk on more decisions on a daily basis than anyone, the governor excluded.

Since the governor is not running, Hannemann carries the burden and the obligation of being the one in charge. Taken that way, you could look at his State of the City address as less of a look at where Honolulu is going and more of a view of where the entire state is headed.”

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