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Visitor centers with people are preferable

My wife and I vacation on the mainland on a regular basis. When we arrive at a new town, we routinely stop at a visitors center, sometimes called a welcome center, to learn what there is to see and do in the area.

The fact that our city, which claims to be in such dire straits, is willing to spend thousands of dollars to demolish a piece of aloha in Waikiki and replace it with signs shows no creativity.

Instead of spending this money to demolish the information center and build stone walls with signage, why not spend the money to improve existing signage at the center and assign our Ambassadors of Aloha to the center to help fill in volunteer staffing gaps?

Show some aloha. The personal conversation and story beats a sign any day.

Ray Yourchek


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Cars and pedestrians must be separated

Regarding the latest hit-and-run incident on South King Street, Hawaii will continue to have unacceptably high pedestrian accidents until traffic safety engineers implement drastic changes. Simply having more workshops, community discussions, sign-waving and pedestrian master plans will accomplish little until pedestrians and cars are safely separated.

Allowing vehicles to turn right or left onto a crosswalk at the same time that pedestrians have a walk signal provides a high potential for collision. Worse yet are the crosswalks over three or more lanes of traffic without any stop lights. Could our traffic engineers have designed a more dangerous combination?

A. K. Carroll


Rail system would be costly and an eyesore

The proposed rail system on Oahu would be a detriment to businesses when built and also become a huge eyesore when completed.

Rather than spend such an exorbitant price for a rail system, why not improve Oahu’s bus system, which is already great? There are no guarantees people will give up the convenience of a personal vehicle.

Secondly, price for ridership of the rail system may be too exorbitant.

Third, it would be an eyesore for a rail system to be built on what is supposed to be "paradise."

Dean Nagasako


Make BYU join WAC in all sports or none

I am surprised that Brigham Young University is being welcomed back to the Western Athletic Conference in all sports except football (by BYU’s choice).

As I recall, the Cougars were the instigators 10 years ago that started this whole fiasco with the renegade Mountain West Conference and now they decide to leave the MWC because their feelings were hurt with all the defections and non-invitations to join other conferences.

If the WAC is to be saved, either BYU joins the WAC in all sports or should not be invited at all.

Wayne Narimasu


Rail and sewer costs will be spread out

Rike Weiss was correct to note that extensive wastewater system repairs and upgrades covered by a pending consent decree will provide many jobs for years to come ("New mayor will have $10B debt," Letters, Aug. 13), but other points were misleading.

The wastewater collection system work and a portion of the treatment plant upgrades at Sand Island and Honouliuli are expected to cost $3.4 billion through fiscal year 2020. Much of the work would have been completed regardless of the consent decree; the $1.2 billion cost of the treatment plant upgrades is additional. The decree was acceptable because it prioritized the collection system to prevent sewage spills and provided an unprecedented 25- to 28-year schedule to complete the treatment plant work.

This will be financed over an even longer time, and so is not a debt incurred at once.

Likewise, the rail project is being financed over 15 years by a 0.5 percent surcharge added to the general excise tax — approximately 30 percent of which is paid by visitors — and by an anticipated $1.55 billion in federal funding that will help boost our island’s economy.

Markus Owens
Public communications officer, Honolulu Department of Environmental Services


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