Monday, May 26, 2008
Global Warming, flooding in Mapunapuna and Honolulu's ever-changing transit plans
- Related article: Development Oriented Transit
Ok, Waikiki will be flooded like Venice, but not any time soon. What will happen first is that areas that now get flooded occasionally will be under water more often.
Like Mapunapuna, where high tides regularly fill the streets with water.
So how does this affect transit planning? Should we think of laying track to Waikiki if its future as a tourist destination is in doubt? Hmmm, what about the airport itself?
I'm told that the flooding is too far in the future. That's probably true.
But what about Mapunapuna, where developers (and City Councilman Romy Cachola) now want to warp the transit map to include a train stop (see link above)? Parts of that area are regularly flooded now.
Maybe they're planning to put the station on dry ground. I wouldn't count on it. The fact that this idea is being pushed only now is a clear indication that no planning whatsoever has gone into the idea. You plan first, then design, then build, right? Not in Honolulu it seems.
This last-minute plan also confirms the thesis of my earlier article, that the transit system is being driven by developers rather than the needs of the people. Check out the Advertiser article, it actually supports this:
Still, city officials are not completely ruling out the possibility of placing a station in Mapunapuna and are waiting for a written proposal from HRPT [Massachusetts-based HRPT Properties Trust].
"If somebody were to come to the table with some real concrete words and something in writing, I think that's a lot different. ... That has a lot to do with how we view whether it's a real offer or something that's just a pie in the sky," [city transportation director Wayne] Yoshioka told council members during a hearing last week.
As it is now, we, the people, are paying taxes for a transit system that is being built to satisfy the interests of developers. Yup, we pay the excise tax, they profit from it.
Is it fair that we pay Mufi's train tax in the supermarket so that a Massachusetts investment firm can make a big profit from our transit system??
If you'd like to read more, check out my much (much) longer article, Developer Oriented Transit. It suggests, bottom line, that we stop this developer-driven rail nonsense, step back, and plan our community first, including its transit system. It includes links showing how city planning can create great, livable communities.
You can sign a petition to stop rail without supporting HOT lanes, the proposed alternative. My suggestion is: find a petition and sign it, so that the rail question gets on the ballot. If that happens, we can go from there.
Whenever we travel I always want to go to the local City Hall and check out the local governance structure and practice (much to my companion’s chagrin). And I always see all these community based planners and the implementation of the basic smart growth principle- having the local community determine the extent and location of development.
Then I come back home to the 19th century. Our only planning in Hawai`i is waiting for someone with a lot of money to come along and the only questions we ask are “what do you want to do” and “where do you want us to put it”.
As always, excellent articles Larry.
Our only planning in Hawai`i is waiting for someone with a lot of money to come along and the only questions we ask are “what do you want to do” and “where do you want us to put it”.
Very well said, Andy. And in so few words. You've got the essence of it right there.