Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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March 05, 2008 - MidWeek
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Parroted words

Rick Hamada’s attack on Michelle Obama, like much of his commentary, seems to be parroted from other conservative gabbers - especially in this case Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. If they utter a word, it’s soon spilling from Mr. Hamada’s lips. An original thinker he is not.

In this case, the best you can say of his column was that he is uneducated in American history and realities. Michelle Obama was born black and female at a time when being either put you at a disadvantage in America. She has seen a different America. The wonder of this election campaign is that either a woman or black man will likely be our next president.

As for Mrs. Obama, I predict she’ll be the greatest first lady ever.

Jane Asato-Evans
Pearl City

Attacking spouses

It must have been a really slow news day for conservative commentators such as Rick Hamada to attacking the spouse of a presidential candidate. Either that, or they are so distraught with the GOP’s frontrunner that they are trying to create a diversion. What will they do next, attack Hillary’s spouse? Wait - they’ve already done that (over and over again).

Peter Junker

Local success story

It was great reading the cover story about Brian Tatsumura. To go from stock clerk to Nordstrom manager is a wonderful local-boy-makes-good story.

Jack Matsuda

Explaining rail

You’d think it would be obvious that encouraging the use of automobiles as a way to improve Honolulu’s traffic problems is nonsensical, but not according to Jerry Coffee.

What Mr. Coffee didn’t tell readers is that with Oahu’s projected population growth and the resulting development that follows, there is no viable way to reduce traffic congestion. Rail transit, however, when all alternatives are studied by experts, is the best solution.

Much of the reason for the overall increase in traffic congestion (as measured by hours of delay) is projected growth. The population in West Oahu is projected to increase by more than 150,000 people by 2030. Total island growth is projected to be more than 200,000 people. Those new people will need to work, have places to live and move about their communities.

Honolulu’s fixed guideway mass transit system will enhance that mobility, support growth and improve transportation reliability and equity for our island. It will offer a reliable, consistent alternative for those people who do not want to sit in traffic. The system will also slow the growth of traffic congestion better than any of the transportation alternatives others have suggested, including Mr. Coffee’s ill-advised high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, which encourages the use of automobiles.

A range of highway features, including the HOV lane proposed by Mr. Coffee, were considered and analyzed in great detail in the Alternatives Analysis process used to select Honolulu’s locally preferred transportation alternative, the fixed guideway transit system. That analysis showed that the HOV facility, described as a new elevated highway, would have less positive impact on traffic congestion than the fixed guideway system.

The fixed guideway system will have the capacity to move the equivalent of six lanes of highway traffic. One, two or even three HOV lanes cannot move that same volume of people. And, if built, once those lanes are filled to capacity, more highways would be needed to address those traffic congestion problems. The fixed guideway would be able to carry additional capacity by adding more vehicles per train or increasing the frequency of arrival times. There would not be significant additional cost, effort or land taken to increase the capacity of the fixed guideway system in 30 years when the roads are once again over their capacity.

The panel that selected the technology for the fixed guideway system did not consider an HOV/Managed Lane option because upon evaluation, this alternative cost too much and did too little. The fixed guideway system and the subsequent selection of vehicle technology for the system are moving forward because the fixed guideway system is the most effective in mitigating traffic congestion.

Adding more cars on toll roads is not the answer. Honolulu deserves a long-term solution that will improve the quality of life on the island by providing mobility, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and providing a reliable way to travel without having to deal with traffic congestion.

Richard Torres
Deputy Director,
City Department of Transportation Services

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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