'Green Line' rail route deserves the green light
The City and County of Honolulu is on the verge of taking perhaps its boldest step in many decades. We want to commend the Council for having the courage to take action on this important issue: building a rail transit system for Honolulu.
However, more courage is needed. First, the courage to choose rail transit. Second, more courage to reconsider the route alignment and to support the Floor Draft Amendment (Bill 79 CD-2 FD-1) that identifies the locally preferred alternative as the best choice for Honolulu.
The Ewa and Kapolei/ Makakilo/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Boards both support this alignment along the Saratoga/North-South Road (or "Green Line"). Additionally, many leaders from Leeward communities also support this option, declaring it the "people's route." We, the undersigned, also stand together behind this option.
Why? In a nutshell, the Green Line:
» has the highest projected ridership resulting in the greatest potential return for the city on its investment;
» best serves Ewa's existing housing and commercial uses, from the City of Kapolei and Makakilo, through the Villages of Kapolei, to Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach and up to West Loch and Waipahu;
» best serves the area where most of the future commercial and residential development is to occur, including:
1. University of Hawaii-West Oahu, featuring a 7,600-student campus, supporting housing and commercial uses;
2. continued aggressive expansion of the City of Kapolei and its growing harbor;
3. continued build-out of Gentry's master planned community and Haseko's Ocean Pointe that include commercial centers, housing, a new golf course resort area and an accompanying marina;
4. Department of Hawaiian Home Lands' East Kapolei projects, including a regional mall, thousands of homes for beneficiaries, plus homes to be developed by the state's housing corporation;
5. several new elementary, middle and high schools;
6. the Salvation Army's new Kroc Community Center;
7. DR Horton-Schuler Homes' Ho'opili community, featuring a 1,600-acre mixed-use and transit-ready development; and,
8. Hawaii Community Development Authority/Kalaeloa's plans to create 6,500 homes and 7,000 new jobs;
» is primarily undeveloped land that would result in the fewest condemnation headaches and greatest construction ease throughout the proposed 28-mile route;
» has the greatest potential to capitalize on the best of what transit-oriented development can offer through new development that will be tailor-made for the area;
» leverages the 200 acres of land the city is due to receive from the Navy that lies within a half-mile of the alignment. This land, to be conveyed at no cost, can be used for base yards, supportive facilities and development so the city can leverage the value created by the proposed transit project.
WHILE WE understand that all of Oahu's communities --not just Ewa -- need to be considered in this major decision, we strongly believe that the Green Line provides the best option for all of Oahu.
We encourage our leaders to do the right thing and vote "yes" on Bill 79 CD-2 FD-1. With their leadership and support, we can create a transit system that will enhance Honolulu's status as a world-class city and greatly improve the quality of residents' lives.
This letter was signed by the following organizations and individuals: Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; DR Horton-Schuler Homes; Ewa by Gentry Community Association; Ewa Villages Association; Gentry Homes; Gentry Investment Properties; Haseko; Hoakalei Cultural Foundation; The Salvation Army; University of Hawaii at West Oahu; Daniel Dinell, executive director, Hawaii Community Development Authority; Kurt Fevella, Ewa Neighborhood Board chairman; Stanton Enomoto, former director, Planning & Development-Kalaeloa, HCDA; Maeda Timson, Kapolei/ Makakilo/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board chairwoman; and Richard Dunn, Ocean Pointe Residential Community Association.