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Editorial | Letters

Rail stations need better design

Much has been said in favor and in opposition to Honolulu rail transit. However, an old Stanford University professor of mine said that great design often is the best indicator of potential success. One only needs to look at Apple products to affirm the role of design.

That is why an elevated railway, especially in the heart of Honolulu’s downtown core, is a disappointing design. This has the potential to divide the downtown area, similar to what happened in San Francisco when the Embarcadero Freeway was built between the Ferry Building and the Bay and downtown.

I hope a second look may be possible for Honolulu rail, and that innovative design at the pedestrian ground-level scale may be reconsidered, leading to a more aesthetically pleasing and ultimately more vibrant transportation system for Honolulu.

Third, Sayers should describe himself more properly as an employee of InfraConsult so that readers may be aware of where his primary loyalties lie. inconvenience everyone for a short time while working straight through until completion?

Kurt Wollenhaupt
Haiku, Maui

Light rail systems fell short of riders

In answer to Duane Sayers (“Light rail does attract riders,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Sept. 14), he knows well that the Honolulu project is a rapid transit project, defined by the transit industry and the Federal Transit Administration as heavy rail, not light rail.

Second, the following corrects Sayers’ contention that all the light rail lines he listed exceeded ridership expectations. According to the FTA’s own Contractor Performance Assessment Report of September 2007, the actual ridership compared to forecasts reveals the following as the correct results:

>> Dallas LRT was 11 percent short of forecast.

>> Portland Westside was 27 percent short of forecast.

>> Salt Lake City South was 17 percent short of forecast.

>> Denver Southwest was 13 percent short of forecast.

>> St. Louis Initial System was 1 percent over forecast.

>> St. Louis St. Clair Extension was 34 percent over forecast.

These are all very good results when compared to those he did not list.

Third, Sayers should describe himself more properly as an employee of InfraConsult so that readers may be aware of where his primary loyalties lie.

Cliff Slater
Pacific Heights

Safety needs trump the right to fly

This letter is in response to Dennis Noe and all Americans who seem to believe that air travel is a constitutional right (“TSA should issue clearance cards,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Sept. 13).

It’s not. Air travel is a privilege. Sure, there are thousands of solid reasons why people believe they have to fly, but, bottom line, no one is forcing them. We live in a dangerous world.

I, for one, am very happy that everyone is checked by the Transportation Security Administration, regardless of age, sex, race or handicap. Yes, it is horrible to have to check a baby or someone in a wheelchair, but the checks must be done.

And the idea of TSA issuing “clearance cards” because you say that you are not a terrorist? Who is supposed to pay for all the background checks?

Sylvia Foster

Ewa Beach

APEC improvement delays predictable

Ala Moana residents predicted this (“State falls behind in fix-up projects for APEC meeting,” StarAdvertiser, Sept. 13).

The time-frame presented to the community for completion of the work was flawed and unrealistic from its inception, as was the unfortunate decision to restrict work to nights.

How unreasonable to subject residents to months of inefficient work that involved the same routine: Arrive at dusk, set up traffic barriers, shuttle in equipment and trucks, start the nightly cacophony of noise with removing metal hole covers, turning on bright lights and reversing the process before dawn.

Did anyone calculate how much wasted time (read taxpayer dollars) is involved in constantly covering and uncovering the trenches? Would it not have been logical to ban all traffic and inconvenience everyone for a short time while working straight through until completion?

Barbara Feather

Farrington Highway stretch dangerous

I would like to respond to the recent traffic accident on Farrington Highway that killed a police officer. My condolences to his family and the police department.

We need to have a more visible police traffic enforcement effort in this area. There are way too many speeders, drunk drivers and drivers of illegally modified vehicles flying down this corridor. There have also been far too many deaths.

I hope the Honolulu Police Department used this tragic event to take positive steps toward eliminating this traffic problem. Crossing the street, stopping on the side of the road because of a failure or even stopping at a stop light is taking a chance with your life. This needs to be stopped, and the only agency that can do this is HPD.

Guillermo Colon

Vacationers infringe on neighbor’s rights

What’s the harm with vacation rentals? It’s my right. Right?

Maybe not, if it infringes on the rights and enjoyment of others.

Consider this: You live next door to a house that is a vacation rental. Every week new tenants arrive and every evening they enjoy the fun and frivolity of Hawaii with laughter and cocktails on the lanai. Every week you get to listen to a new set of renters enjoying their island experience.

And hey, they’re on vacation so their cocktail hour lasts into the late hours of the evening. Your once-quiet backyard retreat is now a living hell as you listen to the new tenants week after week.

Tell me how that’s fair. Tell me why it’s OK to have mini-hotels scattered around a bedroom community. Tell me why it’s OK to have my quality of life suffer so my neighbors can make some extra cash.

You can’t, because it’s not.

Robert Lottie

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