seeking cost-effective ways to reduce traffic congestion in Honolulu
November 30, 2007.
Tolling concept being covered on Olelo:
USA Today: "Ethanol E85 fuel loses cost-benefit test to diesel":
November 26, 2007.
San Diego opens new Parsons Brinckerhoff expressway:
November 15, 2007.
Mayor appoints Parsons Brinckerhoff executive as DTS head:
Mayor on Mike Buck Show yesterday misspeaks:
November 14, 2007.
Residents believe traffic actions on wrong track:
November 13, 2007.
Today's Star-Bulletin op/ed: Rail is not so environmental:
November 10, 2007.
League of Women Voters Forum panelists now on-line:
November 8, 2007.
Engineering News Record says Prop 1 a boost for pricing:
Olelo to show "21 Lies about rail transit":
November 7, 2007.
Seattle Times: "Huge roads-transit plan gets trounced":
Please welcome the newest members of hymskdr.cn
November 5, 2007.
Why hundreds of U.S. light rail lines were ripped up — and then replaced
This happened before the automobile and the bus became competitive with light rail. Most of these rail systems were then taken out in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s because they had become cost-inefficient relative to the newly developing buses.
Cities then began to re-install light rail in the 1970s after public transportation was socialized and costs no longer mattered. This story is an interesting one and essential if one is to understand the current problem.
Great coverage of the transit issue at HawaiiReporter.com:
Just in the last few days, has published these five articles. Search on their site using RAIL TRANSIT and you'll get them and many others.
By Bob Sigall, 11/5/2007 10:20:53 AM He is the author of the best selling book, "The Companies We Keep".
By Cliff Slater, 11/3/2007 1:18:44 PM Submitted in response to City Transportation Planner's article below.
By Toru Hamayasu, 11/2/2007 12:59:59 PM. More spin from the City.
By Cliff Slater, 11/1/2007 11:13:35 AM
By Philip Blackman, 10/29/2007 1:31:12 PM. Sensible opinion piece by Phil Blackman.
Olelo schedule for the League of Women Voters forum video:
On Saturday October 27, the Honolulu League of Women Voters held a Transportation Forum at the State Capitol with four panelists, Mr. Toru Hamayasu, City Director of Transportation Planning, Dr. Panos Prevedouros, UH Professor of Traffic Engineering, Councilmember Ann Kobayashi and Councilmember Gary Okino.
Ms. Pearl Johnson, Chair of the League’s Transportation Committee, presided and the League's JoAnn Maruoka was the Moderator. Each of the panelists spoke for ten minutes, then was a little more than an hour of public testimony with comments from the panelists. The meeting ended with each of the panelists having two minutes for summations.
Do not miss this program. Since a good deal of it revolves around the accusations made about lying it would be useful if you first see the "21 Lies" video posted below otherwise Mr. Okino's rather emotional presentation will not make sense.
Our video tape of the League's forum will air on Olelo on Channel 49 at the following times:
11/11/07 Sun 12:30 pm, 11/12/07 Mon 2:00 pm, 11/18/07 Sun 10:30 am, 11/26/07 Mon 2:00 pm
Wall St. Journal: "Life in the slow lane":
Reason Foundation's Bob Poole in today's WSJ details the rapid spread of not only electronic toll collection but also cashless tolls — if you don't have your electronic toll card in your car, your license plate number is recognized and you are billed at home. READ MORE
October 31, 2007.
A reminder to get your friends to see the 26-minute video "21 Lies":
This video contains clips of an August PBS Hawaii Island Insights show with Dan Boylan moderating, with participants Councilmembers Ann Kobayashi and Gary Okino, City Chief Transportation Planner Toru Hamayasu and Professor Panos Prevedouros. In addition to this location, the video can also be found on "Our video channel" tab.
Listing of Managed Lanes now available:
This listing officially called "U.S. Managed Lane Projects with Pricing Component" was produced by the Transportation Research Board's Joint Subcommittee on Managed Lanes and was accurate through February 2007. It lists seven existing projects, two under construction and 30 under development together with links to all their websites. We will maintain this list under both the "Publications" and "HOT lanes" tabs.
Video of League of Women Voters forum on Olelo:
There are three versions in existence of the video covering the League's forum that took place last Saturday. Our version should be up on this website in a day or two. The one produced by Tom Berg and it will air on one of the Olelo channels at the following times:
11/2/07 Fri 3:30 pm Channel 54; 11/4/07 Sun 11:30 am Channel 49; 11/9/07 Fri
3:30 pm Channel 54;11/10/07 Sat 1:00 pm Channel 49
October 30, 2007.
FTA makes the definitive statement on forecasting failures:
The following statement from the Federal Transit Administration confirms three issues which the City has argued against. First, the majority of transit forecasts are unreliable. Second, the US DOT still stands behind the Pickrell report. Third, the FTA finds the credible. Perhaps this statement might keep the City quiet on these issues:
"FTA has long been concerned about the reliability of the cost and ridership information used in the planning and project development process. The Department of Transportation’s 1990 [Pickrell] report on this subject, several studies by Bent Flyvbjerg, and analyses by FTA have documented the fact that the majority of rail transit projects have significantly underestimated their construction costs and overestimated the actual ridership at the time those projects were chosen locally as the preferred alternatives, compared to the actual cost and ridership figures after the projects were constructed." CPAR, pp. 1-2.
Another good quote from our "Quotations" section:
This one from the Long Beach Press-Telegram last week in an op/ed, "Toll Roads to the Rescue," by noted transportation economist, Gabriel Roth.
"Most U.S. road systems are like relics of the former Soviet Union: socialist enterprises run by well-intentioned planners with no regard to the pricing and investment criteria that allocate goods and services in free societies. Moscow citizens got relief from food lines by abolishing socialism. The market economy could similarly liberate road users from excessive congestion."
And check out the Quotations section
Parsons Brinckerhoff reliably "client-focused" — whoever it is:
October 29, 2007.
Dr. Prevedouros and Councilmember Kobayashi triumph:
City Transportation Planning Director Toru Hamayasu and Councilmember Gary Okino were totally outclassed at the League of Women Voters Forum Saturday morning. We will have the video of the event up and running in a couple of days and we understand that Olelo will also be running it. Stay tuned for the video and Olelo schedule.
Mr. Hamayasu emphatically stated that HOT lanes was properly studied in the Alternatives Analysis as the Managed Lanes Alternative and therefore would definitely not be considered in the current Environmental Impact Statement analysis. Ann Kobayashi pointed out that the Fixed Guideway must include a bus alternative and that it is proper since the City Council has not designated the technology. Professor Prevedouros said the HOT alternative was not properly engineered, that it was purposely designed to fail.
Councilman Okino refuted the claim that the Vancouver rail system loses money, showing a newspaper clipping. No statistics were provided from the Vancouver transportation authority, however.
Okino was angered by charges that impugned his honesty and integrity about his statements in KHET’s Island Insights program. But he was unable to back up his several claims with official government statistics or peer-reviewed authorities. He asked the public to trust his statements based on his religious piety.
Toru Hamayasu and Cliff Slater battle it out in the Advertiser:
Last Friday in the Advertiser's editorial page Toru and Cliff had side by side op/eds on the rail issue. Toru's was titled "City transit and sensible solution," and Cliff's, "Rail transit not worth the big financial risk." The umbrella title for both was "The cost of rail: Money pit or not?" accompanied by a graphic of greenbacks going down into a pit.
Seattle transit official turns his back on rail and embraces HOT lanes.
Seattle Times: "Four years ago, when
Sound Transit asked the federal government to approve construction of a
October 23, 2007.
Compare the Texas state and county governments to ours — and weep:
Here's the TxDOT Plan — "Our plan calls for faster completion of transportation projects with additional money to get the job done right. The plan is focused on five goals.
Our plan is based on four strategies.
The entire TxDOT organization is committed to achieving these goals. Our present and our future depend on it. We are moving forward to give Texans the first-class transportation system they deserve."
And now for the Hawaii Plan: Hawaii has no plan to increase the capacity of H-1. What else do you need to know.
Video: Drew Carey on traffic for Reason Foundation:
Reason.tv Host Drew Carey examines the costs and consequences of traffic jams and explores several solutions that can get our roads moving. How does a speedy trip on the "Drew Carey Freeway" sound? Plus, one lucky commuter gets a helicopter ride to work, courtesy of Drew, in this short nine-minute video presentation:
October 22, 2007.
Video: Ted Balaker on how to build our way out of congestion:
Reason's Ted Balaker debunks the myth that "we can't build our way out of congestion" in this short video presentation:
October 20, 2007.
Video: Bob Poole of Reason Foundation on Bloomberg TV:
Reason Foundation Founder Robert Poole, who has advised the last four presidential administrations, discusses ways to pay for the nation's massive infrastructure needs.
Pritchett cartoons up to date:
We have just brought up to date our archive of all of John Pritchett's wonderful cartoons that are relevant to our issue. Go to the cartoons tab and click on John Pritchett. They are really worth the effort. We owe a great deal to John's genius in poking fun at this ridiculous waste of public funds.
October 15, 2007.
Today we launch our new hymskdr.cn video channel:
We currently have 29 videos up in full color of various members and associates of hymskdr.cn together with City Councilmembers and others. From now on, the video channel link will always be prominently featured at the top of our home page (see above) in addition to having a separate tab.
Reason Foundation launches on-line TV show with Drew Carey:
Reason today launched an on-line TV show with Drew Carey discussing LA traffic and possible ways to alleviate traffic there. He discusses HOT lanes (of course), tunneling and even helicopters. We recommend this first show as a great introduction to HOT lanes and congestion pricing in general.
Contra Costa Times says SFO's BART rail line is in trouble:
The aging BART system is running up against a fiscal rock wall. The Contra Costa Times says, "Cables and computers that signal cars to slow down or speed up have a few more years of reliable life. Wires and circuits that deliver electricity to power the trains are running low on time. At 35, BART is getting old. The transit system's board approved on Thursday a 25-year road map that foresees the need to spend $11.4 billion on hardware and equipment but identifies funding sources for only half the money. Finding the other half -- a $5.8 billion shortfall -- will be a big but necessary task, BART managers and board members said. "It's a big challenge," said Joel Keller, a BART board member from Antioch. "We have to reinvest in this system to keep BART service reliable."
There is a useful lesson to be learned here regarding the future financial liability of any potential Honolulu rail line. You do not build a rail line and it is there forever. Replacement and refurbishing costs, over and above normal operating and maintenance costs, are a serious matter. For further detail on this issue, see page 3 of http://hymskdr.cn/costunderstate3.pdf
Yesterday's Washington DC Examiner carried a related story about deferred maintenance on the DC Metrorail.
October 14, 2007.
Major U.S. daily opposes a new rail transit line:
Today, the Seattle Times came out in strong opposition to Proposition 1, the region's major transportation proposal. Of rail transit the paper editorialized that it, "spends huge amounts of money to make congestion worsen at a slightly lesser rate. Seattle may deny this, but the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes. So says a report issued by State Auditor Brian Sonntag last week, and so says human experience. New roads help."
"Much more could be done with bus service, particularly if high-occupancy lanes are kept flowing by the smart use of tolls. Light rail replaces buses, and at a much higher cost per rider. Rail soaks up money buses might have used. Rail funnels transit. Buses extend it. And most rail riders will be people who were already riding the bus."
And of Transit Oriented Development, the editorial continues, "The farsighted ones say light rail is about changing the way we live. It is about increasing density, levering us into apartments around rail stations. If we live next to rail, we will drive less and help save the Earth. It is a fetching, utopian vision, but it is not so easy to change the way Americans live."
"Consider Portland. That city opened its first light-rail line two decades ago, and has built several of them, all of which replaced bus lines. Overall, Greater Portland is no less car-dependent than Seattle. Its congestion has gotten worse, just as it has here. Many Portlanders are proud of light rail, but the last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.
"Maybe they learned something."
Today's Seattle Times editorial is a very important event. To our knowledge it is the first time a major U.S. daily has opposed a rail transit line. For those of us who have spent the last 20 years waiting for the major dailies to wake up to rail transit's problems, it is a very gratifying moment.
New York transit strike shows benefits of telecommuting:
News article from Australia comments on the New York experience and quotes Reason Foundation's Ted Balaker saying, "In some cities like San Diego, Dallas and Phoenix, telecommuters now outnumber public transport commuters. In Oklahoma City telecommuters outnumber transit commuters by nearly five to one." Of course, with market share for transit slowly declining while ratcheting up for telecommuting, one does not need to ask what the government is encouraging. READ MORE
Govt. docs: Read between the lines after parsing the sentences:
In this document, the author asks rhetorically about Honolulu's rail transit, "Will the project relieve traffic congestion?" Here's the answer: "Traffic has been increasing rapidly on Oahu. No single project will be able to relieve congestion far into the future. When built, the transit project will help take some drivers off of H-1 and other corridor roadways. This will reduce congestion in the short-term, and also help reduce the rate at which congestion grows in the future, but not eliminate traffic congestion in the corridor. All urban areas inevitably experience some level of traffic congestion; however, an effective transit system provides users mobility despite traffic congestion."
October 3, 2007.
Star-Bulletin's bizarre editorial:
In an editorial two days ago the Star Bulletin wrote, "As the Council's final decision was nearing last year, critics proposed the option of a reversible tollway that they maintained would be cheaper and effective. They a 10-mile stretch that opened last year between downtown Tampa, Fla., and a suburban area. The Tampa tollway is open only during rush hour, receives little use and is costing more than was expected."
Dr. Martin Stone, PhD., AICP, Director of Planning for the Tampa Expressway Authority, immediately wrote to the editor. "I was very disappointed to read the recent editorial in your newspaper that included references to our reversible express lane project that were completely inaccurate. Your comment that “The Tampa tollway is open only during rush hour, receives little use and is costing more than was expected” paints a picture that is not supported in any way by the facts of our project.
"The Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority’s Reversible Express Lanes has just won the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s Toll Excellence Award as the Best Toll Operations Project in the World for 2007. IBTTA recognized the project because it provides one of the world’s best combinations of time savings, convenience, safety and reliability for the price." He went on to refute every statement that the SB made about the tollway. READ MORE
What is puzzling is why the SB would make such grossly inaccurate statements about the Tampa Tollway when it is a public agency whose performance is a matter of public record.
October 2, 2007.
Sex and the City transit:
From a recent Newsday relating to Okino and "safe" transit: "The Manhattan borough president wants more police in the subways to fend off perverts who attack straphangers.
Scott Stringer's office asked commuters how often someone sexually attacked or harassed them in the subway, and found frightening results. More than 60 percent of those who responded to the online study said they were sexually harassed and 10 percent said they'd been sexually assaulted.
"This whole notion of what happens underground stays underground is just not acceptable anymore," Stringer said. "Instead of fighting back, people have become afraid or believe that nothing can be done." READ MORE
September 28, 2007.
Nothing more needs to be said about this John Pritchett cartoon :
September 24, 2007.
Advertiser reports on the Las Vegas monorail:
The Las Vegas Monorail, privately funded mostly by casinos, now has ridership that is only 40 percent of what was originally forecast and looks like going belly up. Transportation officials believe the way out of trouble is to expand it or, as the report has it, can it "double down to avoid going bust?" Wendell Cox, noted rail critic, is quoted as saying the solution to the financial woes of the beleaguered monorail is to "tear it down. That's the first thing they should do. It's an eyesore. It has no redeeming value whatsoever." READ MORE
September 20, 2007.
Star-Bulletin comments on TheBoat:
This is a most interesting editorial from one of our daily newspapers. As they say, "The ferry won't get commuters to their jobs any sooner, even at peak rush hour. Three Star-Bulletin staffers left Makakilo simultaneously at 5 a.m. yesterday and recorded their times to arrive downtown: commuting by TheBoat took one hour and 43 minutes, by car took 28 minutes and by express bus, 37 minutes. The key to TheBoat's success is that one hour is spent on the ferry boat and can be put to use by the commuter. As the rush hour reaches its peak, TheBoat will remain slowest but not by as much."
September 17, 2007.
Cliff Slater has op/ed in today's Hawaii Reporter:
The title, Barber's Point Ferry to Fail -- Again,does not take any foresight. He details its past failures and spells out why it cannot succeed this time.
Star-Bulletin has excellent coverage on TheBoat in tonight's paper:
The Star-Bulletin should get a lot of praise for covering the story the way they did using three reporters, on Express Bus, on TheBoat and by auto. They all started around 5:15. Door to door, the auto took 28 minutes and TheBoat took 1 hour 25 minutes. READ MORE
September 13, 2007.
Panos Prevedouros presents solutions to OMPO meeting:
Dr. Prevedouros, professor of Traffic Engineering at UH, spoke recently to the Citizens'' Advisory Council of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization on superior alternatives to rail. To activate the video press PLAY on the bottom left corner of the image below. Should you have problems with this, try this link instead
A reminder about ridership forecasts vs. actual:
0This table below is from an FTA document that discusses the inaccuracy of transit ridership projections.
In general, recent forecasts' accuracies are no better than those reported in the last official US DOT report authored by the Chief Economist of US DOT's Volpe Center, Dr. Pickrell, in 1990.
Note that some of the more expensive transit projects are those with the greatest innacurancies such as the LA Red line, the Atlanta North Line and the Chicago Orange Line.
The forecasts are those made at the time of both the Alternatives Analysis (AA) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). These are then compared with the actual ridership achieved.
Of particular interest is the enormous gap between the best and worst forecasts from only 6 percent of what they forecast to 142 percent of forecast. And these are all forecasts approved by FTA. There is so little correlation that it is quite obvious that the forecasts are totally meaningless. One cannot accuse the consultants of always having a ridership shortfall because they have actually under forecast in several instances. For the full FTA paper
September 11, 2007.
"Yes, Virginia, there is a HOT lanes":
Virginia transportation officials have reached a preliminary agreement with two companies for a financing plan that will provide $1.7 billion to build high-occupancy toll [HOT] lanes on a section of the Beltway. The plan would create two HOT lanes in both directions on a 14-mile stretch of the Beltway. READ MORE
Hawaii Reporter shows a hard-hitting video about rail:
September 8, 2007.
And now a word from the French:
One of the problems we have is convincing the powers that be that they have the wrong costs for the HOT lanes aka Managed Lanes. The Hawaii DOT tells that, for example, that the latest estimate of costs for the Nimitz Flyover, 2.2 miles from the Nimitz Exchange to Pier 16 just two lanes wide, is $540 million. Please see this powerpoint presentation, which shows the recently opened Millau Bridge in France. This bridge, the tallest in the world, costs less to build than what is estimated for the Nimitz Flyover. French construction labor costs are the same as ours. VIEW PRESENTATION
September 6, 2007.
Balaker: "Pols love public transit — just not for themselves"
Great piece in the Los Angeles Daily News by Ted Balaker of the Reason Foundation. We might well ask, "Has anyone see the Mayor riding TheBus lately?" On a recent Public Television program, Councilmember Okino and City Transportation Planning Director Hamayasu both admitted that they rarely if ever use TheBus.
September 3, 2007.
And lest we forget the Senators who voted for the rail tax increase:
Lest we forget:
The people who got us into this rail transit bind are the Representatives and Senators who voted for the increase in the GE tax. The following Representatives are those who are still in the House and most of them will be seeking re-election:
September 1, 2007.
Malia Zimmerman blitzes Hawaii's politicos in WSJ:
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Hawaii Reporter’s Malia Zimmerman details how the arrogance of Hawaii’s elected officials and its courts struck down a property tax reduction referendum organized and passed by two-thirds of Kauai voters. This action is relevant to the rail transit tax in Honolulu where the voters did not get vote on the first rail tax increase and won’t get to vote on future ones.
She concludes, “Is it any wonder then that Hawaii has the dubious distinction of having the nation's highest overall tax burden? The national Small Business Survival Index has rated Hawaii the "worst" place to operate a business. Some here joke that state officials no longer agree with the Founding Fathers when it comes to "taxation without representation." Still, many understand that, even in paradise, power to the people, not the government, is worth the fight.” READ MORE