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City says it has complied with court order on rail studies

By Marcel Honoré

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:45 a.m. HST, Oct 09, 2013


Honolulu transit officials announced Wednesday that they have fully complied with a federal court order to better study the alternate routes and impacts of the city's planned rail project. 

However, they're still waiting to hear back from a panel of appeals court judges -- and those judges' decision could make or break the $5.26 billion public transit effort.

This morning, rail attorneys filed a "notice of compliance" in federal district court. It says they have completed all of the additional studies that visiting Judge A. Wallace Tashima required in his court decision last year.

Tashima's ruling -- part of a suit looking to stop the rail project -- largely sided with the city. However, it required transit officials to weigh more closely an alternate route that ends at the University of Hawaii instead of the Ala Moana Center, as well as any impacts rail would have on Mother Waldron Park in Kakaako.

The city has wrapped up those studies. They say there would be no impacts to Mother Waldron Park under environmental law, and that it would cost nearly $950 million and take two more years of work to use what's dubbed the "Beretania Tunnel Alternative" -- a route along Beretania and King streets to get to UH Manoa.

"The best alternative is to go the way we're going," Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Executive Director Dan Grabauskas said.

He and Mayor Kirk Caldwell used a press conference this morning to implore rail opponents to accept the studies.

Honolulutraffic.com, a group opposed to the Honolulu rail plan, have 30 days to object to the city's notice of compliance with Tashima's order. Their 2011 lawsuit argued local and federal officials violated environmental and historical preservation law with a shoddy approvals process.

Cliff Slater, chairman of Honolulutraffic.com, said it's too early to say whether the group would object. Honolulutraffic.com has appealed its case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In August, a three-judge panel from the appeals court held a hearing on the matter in San Francisco. A decision from that appeals court panel could come at any time.







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Maneki_Neko wrote:
Of course a route to UH would actually make sense in removing cars from the freeway and reducing congestion. A route from the developer's wet dream to the shopping center is just plain silly at $50,000 a foot and no reduction in traffic congestion.
on October 8,2013 | 02:33PM
false wrote:
Agree completely. I'd rather spend that extra dollar fixing a problem rather than throwing it away on this nonsensical route to Ala Moana which will not solve anything.
on October 8,2013 | 04:34PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Yes,let's do the UH connector. Then false and Maneko will really crab.
on October 8,2013 | 10:01PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The city saying it complied is just like saying I support my brother. There needed to be an independent study.
on October 8,2013 | 02:43PM
false wrote:
Maybe more like the dog ate my homework.
on October 8,2013 | 02:56PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Hahahahahahahahaha !!!!!
on October 8,2013 | 03:58PM
OrtKapolei wrote:
Instead of rerouting the rail, I think it would be easier and cheaper to extend the rail line from Kona St onto Kapiolani Blvd then pass in front of Hawaii Convention Center then turn left up University Ave to end around UHM
on October 8,2013 | 03:25PM
Mythman wrote:
Shame on you guys for saying nasty things about our wonder city officials. They are working their fingers to the bone making our lives so much better. Why better them and Washington, I am willing to skip sleeping at night so I can add another job with which to pay taxes so they can keep making our lives better. Joseph Stalin, where are you now that we need you.
on October 8,2013 | 03:28PM
eman wrote:
Let me ask you this: Has there ever been a sustained reduction in traffic when a new road/highway has been built? I can name you several new or added roadways that was supposed to 'reduce traffic', but did it really do what it was supposed to do? H3, zip lane, Kalanianaole, H1 widening between Aiea to PC, Haleiwa bypass, re-striped H1 between Punahou and Pali etc. It's more congested now than ever. More roads just encourages more driving (just look at LA). It wouldn't be too bad if we had defensive, non-distracted, not-too-much-miss-aloha-let-everybody-in-or-slow-down-for-the-car-on-the-onramp drivers, but we don't. Hawaii has some of the worst drivers in the world. Until there is population control or reduction, there will never, ever be traffic reduction. Oh yea, I almost forgot: self-driving cars will solve all of our traffic woes. NOT! The lawyers will have a field day with that one. Traffic control? Not a chance on an island with limited land. We can't even control traffic now. What do you think the future will be like with even more cars?
on October 8,2013 | 03:52PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It's the grandpas and grandmas that are allowed to drive. When u see someone going slow on the road, that's exactly what it is. The worst situation is if there is an accident on a road. Then the traffic stops at the accident site for an hour or so, which causes a massive tie up on the freeways. When u get to the portion that starts flowing again, u might see some debris on the road, such as some flowers that I once seen. Then I concluded that there either was an accident or a sudden swerving of a flower truck.
on October 8,2013 | 04:10PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It's time to double deck the H-1 through downtown. San Francisco did it, and it's one of Hawaii's favorite mainland cities. We need to double deck it from Middle Street to Kaimuki. Incoming Pali Highway can be merged with the double deck portion.

Oahu is conducive to double decking because the main earthquake zone is on the big island. The ground here not nearly shakes as much as on the big island.

People say "do something" about out of work construction people, well this double-decking would do a lot. People might wonder about the traffic mess it would create during rush hour, well it is already congested to the max.

It is a wonder that the City does not lengthen the green light at the Punahou Street H-1 East off ramp, which is causing the massive tie up in the first place.


on October 8,2013 | 04:16PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Please watch the Punahou off ramp H-1 East between 3:30PM and 4:30PM tomorrow, because if it gets bottlenecked we know it's because of the Shipyard Employees. I passed there a few days ago at about 4:15PM and although there was a slowdown there, very few cars were lined up to leave the H-1 East offramp at Punahou Street.

If it gets clogged up, then we know it's due to the Federal Employees getting off there. It's time for the City and the State to work closer together. That offramp is the root cause of the H-1 East becoming a parking lot every weekday during both morning and afternoon rush hours.

It is high time that the City Council Member of that district and the State Representative of that district meet and allow the Green Light to be much longer to let cars get off the H-1 at Punahou Street much faster.

All the fixes before that off ramp including making the H-1 four lanes will not fix that bottleneck. It is simple: just lengthen the Green Light.

Take a look at other intersections such as Likelike Highway and School Street: the green light for passage on Likelike Highway is very long during rush hour, something like four or five minutes.

Just implement my suggestion and all this Rail talk will go down the drain. Here again is a common sense simple approach of traffic light control, so very simple to implement yet authorities do not do it.

How terrible for all those who transit the H-1, especially our parents who raise our Keiki, being stranded for hours on a freeway, when they could relax at home?


on October 8,2013 | 04:18PM
eman wrote:
Let me jog your memory: October 15, 2006. Lots of damage to the entire Island chain. And it was 'only' a 6.6. Now go put your imagination to work... not IF, but WHEN.
on October 8,2013 | 04:52PM
WaialaeGuy wrote:
I'd like to point out that San Francisco had torn down its downtown double-deck freeway after it was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. And then the waterfront bloomed, Muni built a now popular streetcar line up the middle of the Embarcadero and a equally popular farmer's market opened up in the previously empty Ferry Building. So be careful in suggesting a downtown freeway be double-decked, the cost will be huge and it may not live up to its builder's promise.
on October 8,2013 | 10:10PM
localguy wrote:
The double deck freeway collapsed due to not being built to current earth quake codes in California. After the quake California upgraded all the bridges to make them stronger.
on October 8,2013 | 10:55PM
eman wrote:
So what you're saying is it's not the driver who's texting, or talking, or eating, or putting makeup, or reading, or arguing with someone in the car that's causing the traffic, but the mamas and the papas are the ones to blame. There must be a lot of them out driving because the traffic is horrendous.
on October 8,2013 | 05:40PM
kiragirl wrote:
Yep. Hawaii got lousy drivers partially because of our senior citizens.
on October 8,2013 | 05:52PM
eman wrote:
Yep. Hawaii is the only place with senior citizens...
on October 8,2013 | 06:15PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I agree with population control, there's just too damn many people on this island
on October 8,2013 | 06:20PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Please watch the Punahou off ramp H-1 East between 3:30PM and 4:30PM tomorrow, because if it gets bottlenecked we know it's because of the Shipyard Employees. I passed there a few days ago at about 4:15PM and although there was a slowdown there, very few cars were lined up to leave the H-1 East offramp at Punahou Street.

If it gets clogged up, then we know it's due to the Federal Employees getting off there. It's time for the City and the State to work closer together. That offramp is the root cause of the H-1 East becoming a parking lot every weekday during both morning and afternoon rush hours.

It is high time that the City Council Member of that district and the State Representative of that district meet and allow the Green Light to be much longer to let cars get off the H-1 at Punahou Street much faster.

All the fixes before that off ramp including making the H-1 four lanes will not fix that bottleneck. It is simple: just lengthen the Green Light.

Take a look at other intersections such as Likelike Highway and School Street: the green light for passage on Likelike Highway is very long during rush hour, something like four or five minutes.

Just implement my suggestion and all this Rail talk will go down the drain. Here again is a common sense simple approach of traffic light control, so very simple to implement yet authorities do not do it.

How terrible for all those who transit the H-1, especially our parents who raise our Keiki, being stranded for hours on a freeway, when they could relax at home?


on October 8,2013 | 04:18PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
At the tone the time will be 4:19 and 50 seconds.
on October 8,2013 | 04:19PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Think of it this way: u guys wanted the transcripts of the chamber conversation of Ahn and Deedy, yet u guys are sometimes muzzling commentators on this forum to fit your needs. I hope they deny your request.
on October 8,2013 | 04:22PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The case for Rail: 1). It will reduce our dependence for motor vehicles and hence enhance our quality of life. 2) It will provide for badly needed employment for our construction industry. 3) it is a gift that keeps on giving because it will provide career opportunity jobs in operation and maintenance. 4) it will provide for transit oriented development by allowing housing to be built in and around the rail lines, especially on the west end. 5) it will be an easy mode of transport for those wanting to see Kapolei as well as Ala Moana. 6) it will provide a fast means of transport for students from the west side into University of Hawaii.
on October 8,2013 | 04:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
It's okay I know u guys did something to my brother.
on October 8,2013 | 04:23PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
The case for Rail: 1). It will reduce our dependence for motor vehicles and hence enhance our quality of life. 2) It will provide for badly needed employment for our construction industry. 3) it is a gift that keeps on giving because it will provide career opportunity jobs in operation and maintenance. 4) it will provide for transit oriented development by allowing housing to be built in and around the rail lines, especially on the west end. 5) it will be an easy mode of transport for those wanting to see Kapolei as well as Ala Moana. 6) it will provide a fast means of transport for students from the west side into University of Hawaii.
on October 8,2013 | 04:24PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Yes I know it's a repeat comment.
on October 8,2013 | 04:24PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Am I allowed to gr
on October 8,2013 | 04:28PM
jusjoking wrote:
put down the bottles cuz. go sleep.
on October 8,2013 | 04:37PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
population control - that's what we need. Too many people on Oahu.
on October 8,2013 | 06:20PM
eman wrote:
Yea, the Communist States of America. Has a nice ring to it, saywhatyoustink, no?
on October 8,2013 | 06:30PM
WaialaeGuy wrote:
What, everybody without unkamillion bucks must move to the mainland? Seriously how do you properly control who lives on Oahu?
on October 8,2013 | 10:13PM
Kuniarr wrote:
This is another nice piece of Public Relations provided by the SA for HART.
on October 8,2013 | 07:29PM
SomebodyElse wrote:
Who decides which route is the best? HART? The Mayor? The Council? We voted to fund it, let's vote to decide where it should end up. I think the public will spend as much time reading the alternative route assessment as HART and the Mayor did. Outrageous that this thing doesn't go to UH and doesn't go to the Airport. Based on traffic last week, it should also go to wherever the most Federal workers are.
on October 8,2013 | 11:07PM
what wrote:
The stupid! It burns! Highways are so popular that they are filled to capacity with people who want to use them. So why are so many people saying we should stop building them?
on October 9,2013 | 12:48AM
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