Thursday, October 11, 2012


Prudent to leave iwi kupuna where they are

by Larry Geller

It’s not clear from reports on the meeting between HART CEO Dan Grabauskas and community members at the Oahu Island Burial Council meeting yesterday whether the city plans to move any human bones found in Kakaako along the rail route before construction begins. (See, for example, here.)

Possibly that was clear to those attending the meeting, but the printed reports seem ambiguous, unless I’m missing something.

The iwi should be left alone.


Because there’s a good chance that if Gov. Ben Cayetano wins election in November, just a few weeks away, there will be no rail construction at all.

So whatever is found should be left alone. That would be the moral thing to do.


It appears the plan is to leave the iwi where they are. This has been anticipated which is why the placement of the pillars have not been finalized. But let's get realistic here. While the pillars can be spaced as far as 300 feet apart what is Ben Cayetano going to do when iwi is found digging his tunnels. How many years will the intersections on Kapiolani Blvd have to be closed until it is decided what to do about the iwi? Another thing Ben Cayetano forgets to mention is the roads along the BRT route will have to be reinforced. This means a lot of digging. Let's have a discussion on the facts and not jump to conclusions by the misinformation being spread by Ben Cayetano.

It's not clear that iwi will be found when tunnels are dug deeper than iwi were buried. Maybe dinosaur bones (kidding) but not human bones. But I haven't followed where the underpasses will be. Certainly that could be an issue.

Reinforcement of roadways for buses seems to be done here by pouring shallow concrete slabs in place of shallow asphalt. When they were pouring on Nehoa, it looked like the underlying substrate was undisturbed, but I could be wrong about that. The reinforcement was done only at the bus stops.

Clearly, there is a lot to learn about BRT and Cayetano's plan. Just look around you, though, and you see buses running all over the place. To me, this means that there is some flexibility and potential in it.

Let me remind you, since few people mention it, that a bus goes from the airport to Waikiki right now. Mufi's rail will never do that. While the buses don't have space for luggage at present, that could be accomplished with a different bus design. Again, the train doesn't even go to the airport and I doubt it will be extended to Waikiki.

The five tunnels will have a much larger footprint than the town footprint for rail. With iwi it's the area of digging that is critical. What we do know about Ben's bus system is it is not a BRT system. Real BRT use buses with no steps and low floors and raised sidewalk platforms for easy and quick boarding. BRT is simply an at-grade steel on steel rail on rubber tires. Ben's bus system will be using conventional buses with conventional bus stops. Rail will have a a minimum hourly capacity of 100 buses per hour. At maximum 300 buses per hour. That's one bus every That's one bus every 12 seconds.

About your last point. Ben's buses will be stuck in traffic with thousands of cars. Those buses will add to already congested roads. There will be a shuttle bus every five minutes from Ala Moana to UH. I haven't checked but the same may be true for Waikiki. Rail will not be stuck in traffic between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Shopping Center. Ben's bus cannot claim that.

One more point. Ben Cayetano's express buses don't go to the airport.

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