Light Rail vs. Elevated Rail

Rail comparisonHere's a little background on the topic of the next episode of Bytemarks Cafe. Back in July I participated in Pecha Kucha Night at the Academy of Arts. After my presentation, Scott Wilson, Architect and member of American Institute of Architects (AIA Honolulu), did a presentation on Light Rail. At the time I wasn't aware of the major differences between Light Rail and Elevated Rail. That difference became obviously clear when he posted his pictures comparing the two. The elevated structures required to support the rail system were huge. Evidently the City contracted Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) only considered elevated as an option, not at-grade where light rail would apply. Wilson showed artists renditions of these structures as it would appear in downtown Honolulu and along the route to Oahu's west side. This would obviously affect the mauka to makai view line but there were also implications to overall costs, neighborhood impact and ongoing mantenance. Proponents of the elevated option counter that light rail would present safety concerns, operate at slower speeds and have higher long-term costs. The discussion on this topic is heating up as the City heads toward groundbreaking for the project later this year. You can find the vast assortment of positions from Doug Carlson's Say Yes to Rail System site to recent articles from local media listed on the AIA Honolulu Transit page. Lots of information to digest as this project moves forward with the potential to forever impact Honolulu. If you have any questions for Scott Wilson or Peter Vincent, both of AIA Honolulu, please tune in on Wed. 8/26 from 5-6pm on KIPO 89.3FM, Hawaii Public Radio. Call us at 808-941-3689 with your questions and insights.

2 thoughts on “Light Rail vs. Elevated Rail”

  1. As an opponent to rail, I have to offer your readers a link to

    Cliff Slater has done a wonderful job of countering all of the rail supporters arguments on why we need this nearly $7 billion monstrosity with his own articles, studies and links to official sources.

    The Outdoor Circle has major issues with the proposed elevated rail line in the fact that it will destroy viewplanes from various points throughout our city.

    Senator Les Ihara in a speech he made on the Senate floor way back in 2004 said that rail will literally divide our city.

    Let’s face it, the Mufi train is NOT Light Rail. It is HEAVY RAIL, STEEL ON STEEL and it will cost us way too much money and not offer a solution to any traffic gridlock.

  2. Aloha, I feel that as a resident of the state we have seen so much already in growth of our population, expanding communities, traffic. If or if not, we really do need the rail system is still an issue, if it relieves traffic? then possibly yes. But, then again maybe it isn’t really the right time? I don’t want to lose any more authentic Hawaii.

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