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Transit proposal calls for 30 stops

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Transit proposal calls for 30 stops

*I really hope that this thing gets built, i believe that it would really help relieve traffic congestion as the population continues to grow and more people are on the road.

M152460122.GIF

If the city builds a rail line from Kalaeloa to Manoa, it likely would include 30 stops along the way and six new park-and-ride facilities for almost 9,000 cars, according to details of the proposal now before the City Council.

Development near the stations could range from simple, elevated, stand-alone train platforms to structures that are fully integrated into new and existing retail and residential complexes, according to city officials. They are planned for heavily urbanized places as well as currently undeveloped areas that are considered ripe for future growth, the officials said.

The size, location and design of those stations and what happens around them ultimately could determine the success of the entire rail project, according to local and Mainland transit and land-use experts.

"It's absolutely critical to the whole system," said Karl Kim, a professor of urban planning at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa. "The development around them can lead to more economic activity."

The City Council, which meets Thursday to take up transit for the second of three required readings, ultimately will decide whether to choose rail or one of several other transit alternatives, including a managed lane tollway. The council has pledged to make a decision by the end of the year.

The city estimates that between an excise tax increase scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1 and federal funding, it will have enough money to build a 20-mile, $3.6 billion line between Kapolei and Ala Moana.

However, if the council chooses to build a longer, 28-mile, $4.8 billion route, the city likely will have to rely on the sale of private development rights around the stations and other sources to make up the extra money.

City officials said they picked their proposed routes and station stops based on the need to serve existing developments and those with the potential for high-density development within a quarter-mile of the rail stop.

A $10 million alternatives analysis prepared for the city earlier this year recommends that some stations be in Kapolei Town, Leeward and Honolulu community colleges, Pearlridge and Ala Moana centers, and Ho-nolulu International Airport.

Stations planned for areas that are currently underused include Kalaeloa (the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station), the long-talked-about University of Hawai'i-West Oahu campus, Kaka'ako and a planned D.R. Horton development of up to 15,000 new homes on the 'Ewa plain.

"We looked first at areas where there is already a high density, and then at areas where a higher general density would be permitted in the future under existing plans," said Toru Hamayasu, chief engineer for the city's Department of Transportation Services.

In addition, planners tried to identify stations that could primarily serve pedestrians, bus passengers or automobile drivers, said Mark Schiebe, the planner who headed the Alternative Analysis study conducted by the consulting firm Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas.

For instance, some stations like the ones along Dillingham or Kapi'olani Boulevard were specifically chosen because they are on existing bus trunk lines and near heavily traveled bus crossroads like McCully Street and University Avenue, Schiebe said.

Jim Charlier, a transit consultant based in Boulder, Colo., said building a rail station often spurs development for up to a half-mile in all directions. Those transit stations have the potential to transform low-density areas into thriving retail and residential neighborhoods, resulting in millions of dollars of new taxes for the city, an often unspoken factor in transit development, he said.

However, another transit consultant speaking in Honolulu earlier last month, warned that developments can frequently go wrong, resulting in millions of wasted taxpayer dollars.

"Just because you build something next to a rail line, it doesn't mean people will follow. In some cases, everything the planners thought would happen didn't," said John Charles, head of the Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, Ore., which is frequently cited as a model for good transit-oriented development.

Most residents near the stations don't use rail, and several publicly supported housing and commercial projects remained half-empty until city officials provided more parking spaces for automobiles, he said.

"All transit-oriented developments require subsidies. Somebody always has to end up paying for these loser projects," Charles said.

Kim, who is serving on a City Council transit advisory task force, said it's too early to talk about the types of development that will occur around new transit stations.

"We still don't know yet whether the City Council will even choose rail over the other alternatives," he said.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann, too, wants to delay speculation about transit-oriented development. Hannemann on Friday vetoed a bill that would have required the city to regulate development around each station before any budgeting of construction funds.

"The bill is premature because the City Council has yet to make a final decision on a transit mode

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Traffic in Hawaii wasn't so bad,but its good to have mass transit for the future anyways.

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^Thats funny that you say that because people are always complaining about it especially during rush hours which is why they also created the zipper lane to help ease traffic of people travelling to downtown.

Also, since most people live in that corridor and the population is continuing to grow it will be a smart thing to do, if they ever do it. :unsure:

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I don't know how is the traffic situation in Honolulu or the rest of Hawaii but here in PR is chaotic. San Juan Metro has more cars per square mile than any other metro area in the world plus the number of cars in all of PR is also one of the highest per square mile in the world. I remember when I was a freshman, I was driving from Camuy to Mayag

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Damn traffic is horrible here,Western Plaza is so close to UPRM and it took you all that time heh.

The Caguas phase(aprox.3 stations) will be light rail,the Carolina phase(aprox.9 stations with the option to extend it to Canovanas(3 more stations)) will be heavy rail.They need to build them fast cause traffic in San Juan Metro Area is horrible,incredibly horrible...they're focused on the Caguas and Carolina phases right now,I hope that as soon as those phases start construction they give more attention to the Minillas,Airport and Old San Juan phases and hopefully theyll use heavy rail not light rail.

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Yep it took me like 1:45 to 2:00 hours and it was really from Autoland (I said Western Plaza because is easier to spot the site). There was another time also during my freshman year that it took me 45 minutes by car from the Campus main entrance to my house in Urb. Riviera. That same distance but by foot takes 10 minutes. Mayaguez need other "big" roads because traffic in highway 2 is horrible, plus there are so many stop lights not only in the highway but also in downtown streets.

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Thats the problem with Mayaguez,its the only big city in PR that doesn't have a freeway and not just that,but compared to most cities in PR with the same amount of people it has very few roads/avenues.

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How many train station stops are there in San Juan currently? A subway would be awesome in Honolulu especially downtown but the city officials are too scared to even try. :( I really don't like the idea of a raised/elevated rail system.

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There are 16 stations right now,most are elevated(I don't have a problem with those),some are at ground level and 2 are underground .

We have a great train system here,the problem is that its too short and people here is way too dependent on their cars.Cars here are more expensive than in the US but there are more cars per person here.Also the cost to make it was really expensive,the cost of each station alone was between 15-80 million dollars.

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^Well there's a couple of reasons why i don't care for an elevated rail system and thats because its an eye sore, i also think that having it at ground level would be better if the rail were to malfunction and people needed to de-board, etc.

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