Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Peter Calthorpe presentation on transit oriented development

by Larry Geller

Hey, I didn’t see you over at the Mission Memorial Auditorium this evening.

Calthorpe 1

Peter Calthorpe, my favorite architect, spoke on the subject of transit oriented development for Oahu. KHON and some other commercial media were there, so there should be something in the news. I recorded the talk and snapped a few slides. You can hear the entire program by clicking on the little player below.

Calthorpe took questions at the end, and he did remark that neither grade level nor BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) would work for Oahu. Check out his comments.

Bottom line: he supports Honolulu’s transit plan.

I know it’s a bummer listening to a slide presentation, but actually there is quite a bit of information there. Should the slides be made available, I’ll link to them later. I don’t feel comfortable reproducing the slides I did snap without permission. Several of the slides were very specific to Oahu, as you’ll hear.

The sound improves after a few seconds, stick with it.

Download this MP3 - (Right Click)

Calthorpe 2


Mr. Geller

You fail to mention why Mr. Calthorpe is on Oahu. Isn't he working for Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) ?

I think they might have mentioned it, but actually I can't remember. Certainly, someone paid for him to come over and give his talk.

Larry McElheny are you accusing Peter Calthorpe of being a paid shill?

Larry, thank you providing us the opportunity to listen to Peter Calthorpe. He reaffirms my belief that rail is the best lowest cost option we have. As Peter pointed out, doing nothing will cost us much more money and twice as much land. As the Brookings Institute said higher density urban areas (less sprawl) saves wetlands and prime agriculture.

Old Diver

You know I didn't say that. I think I asked a fair question. Readers can draw their own conclusions regarding who Mr. Calthorpe chooses to work for. BTW, I hold Mr. Calthorpe and his work in very high esteem, but I don't agree with him 100%. Especially on the issue of population growth.

I wish it were possible to spend just a little time talking with Calthorpe. After the presentation I mentioned my pet theory that the number of cars on the road won't decrease, for one thing because the number of parking spaces in the Honolulu business district and at Waikiki hotels won't decrease. So if one person gives up a space to ride the train, another car will replace it. He said that wasn't the way it worked (paraphrase), but there was no time for me to find out why he thought that.

I still envy places where ordinary citizens had a chance to weigh in on how they wanted their communities (including, but not limited to, transit) to be designed. I think a people's consensus would rapidly settle the subject you have raised--population growth.

I'm still personally conflicted after listening to his talk because I greatly respect his views, but feel that he probably has been given some objectives to work on, and it is precisely those things that I think are probably not what we want. Also, he knows how to study the issues Oahu faces and how to evaluate the date. I have no such experience. It would be like me commenting on how a doctor should take out an appendix.

date should be data

Larry, it was clear what you were implying.

Old Diver

Horsefeathers !

Would you prefer that readers don't know who he's working for ?

Well, folks, how can we regain control of the planning process? Or forget control, how can we get to participate? Then Calthorpe would be working for us.

Now you're talkin' !

Larry, on your idea of reducing parking spaces. To start off with you need to find a large city where this has worked.

Is Calthorpe an employee of PRP?, or was he brought in as a guest speaker. You are implying Calthorpe is a hired gun. That is clear.

Old Diver, Portland Oregon made a conscious decision that there would not be public parking as they redeveloped. See the earlier articles I posted with the E2 Transit - Portland, Sense of Place videos. It worked beautifully.

But I didn't suggest reducing the number of parking places in Honolulu. That could hurt business and jobs since people could not get to work. There's no train to East Oahu, keep in mind. Unless and until we have a more comprehensive transit system than the one-line overhead rail, how can parking be reduced? I'm not sure it can be done legally anyway.

I was pointing out that since the number of parking places is held constant, and since each one is occupied by a car, then even if one driver decides to switch to the train, another will take over that space. Net change in number of car: zero. It's an attempt to show that traffic will not be reduced significantly by this one-line train.

I see your point Larry, but let's remember, the number of new cars being introduced into the islands today is outstripping the number of parking stalls in Honolulu proper. This situation in twenty years will be many times worse. The idea behind rail is to give people an alternative to sitting in traffic congestion and to comply with Oahu's general plan of pushing most of the new development to the Ewa corridor saving open space and ag lands. Limiting parking stalls or adding hundreds of buses cannot accomplish either is these things.

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