Sunday, September 20, 2015


Welcome to Honolulu 2050, Venice of the Pacific

Construction cranes in the Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako corridor fill the sky a virtual stone’s throw from the water’s edge.—David Shapiro, Volcanic Ash, 9/20/2015

by Larry Geller

New Yorker climate change cover 20150706

I often have trouble snipping David Shapiro’s column within the bounds of fair use—and darn that paywall, a link won’t work unless you’re a subscriber.

In this case, the pull-quote contains the essence of his commentary on the short-sightedness of what passes for planning here.

Why build where the ocean will creep closer each year?

There’s more:

The city designed the $6 billion rail system to run makai through Kakaako instead of taking a more prudent mauka route along Beretania.

[Star-Advertiser p. A2, Behavior, not beliefs, puts Honolulu in disaster’s path, 9/20/2015]

For a conceptual preview of a Honolulu rail station of the future, see the New Yorker cover of July 6, 2015. That could be Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach El or any of a number of lines that, in the future, could be discharging passengers directly into the sea.

Kakaako-2050Yes, one day, Honolulu will be known as the Venice of the Pacific.

Routing the rail along the water always seemed to me to be a strange way to plan a transit system.

But they didn’t ask us, they told us.

Could it be that the rail is not for us, but for developer profit? I’ll give Shapiro the last word:

Developers and construction interests make their money well before future sea-level rises, and politicians are seduced by the double bounty of tax revenues and campaign contributions.


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