Will China's standard of living surpass ours?
Thank you for Bill Sharp's interesting article on Qiao Chu's China ("Look East," Star-Bulletin, Jan. 14
). I enjoyed it very much.
While the Bush administration is squandering our resources in the Iraq war, China is building up its economy, military, science and standard of living. Sounds like almighty Rome or the Ant and the Grasshopper.
Raised guideway better to ease traffic
Last week's afternoon traffic jam caused by the Zipper Lane staying open during rush hour illustrates the reason for the congestion on the H-1 and points to the solution as well. Vehicles trying to get home to their neighborhoods in Central Oahu, Ewa and Kapolei were using the same number of traffic lanes leaving Honolulu going west as they did 15 years ago. We have the hourglass effect. Thousands of new cars squeezing through a small number (five or six) of open lanes. When one or two lanes are blocked, thousands of commuters waste thousands of hours.
The solution must include getting cars off the freeway as well as providing for an alternate route when lanes are blocked. The solution is allowing express buses and other high-occupancy vehicles on the express guideway chosen by the City Council. Each bus and high-occupancy vehicle leaves an open space on the H-1 as they move overhead to the guideway. Since the guideway is flexible, the managers can decide to open it to all traffic in an emergency. In last week's case, two additional lanes could have been available to replace the two lanes that were closed by the Zipper Lane.
The rail proposed for the fixed guideway would not have helped the thousands of vehicle commuters who were trapped last week.
Why did Young stay, and not Haraga?
Rod Haraga was not reappointed to head the Department of Transportation but Peter Young, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources was reappointed. Here are two individuals with management styles worlds apart.
Haraga has always been a communicator. He is a man of the people, encouraging participation and progress through partnerships with residents. He has been open, honest and visible, providing a flow of information from his department that has been unprecedented.
By contrast, Young has conducted departmental affairs deceptively. Information does not flow out of DLNR. There are selective partnerships with the public and, in fact, Young has alienated himself and his department from some of the resources' larger user groups.
If Gov. Linda Lingle really wishes to move Hawaii forward in her second term, communication and community input will be crucial. We need a government that values everyone's opinion in a manner that balances the needs of all of its citizens. Hawaii deserves leaders who are open, honest and approachable. Until then we can never "move forward."
Crosswalk law hard to understand
I recently read that the governor is proposing stronger penalties for drivers who violate the "pedestrian crossing" statute (Star-Bulletin, Jan. 15
). That is a good idea, but I think more driver education is needed as to what constitutes "half of the roadway." There are streets with four lanes, six lanes and so on that might or might not have median strips. If I am turning right and there is a pedestrian crossing in front of my car, when is it legal to proceed?
I tried looking up a definition or explanation in the Hawaii Revised Statutes but couldn't come up with an answer. I would appreciate some education on this matter.
Traffic lights should be re-engineered
I would like to add two more to the excellent list of suggestions proposed by Paul E. Smith in his Jan. 19 letter to the editor
, "Some changes would benefit pedestrians."
First, I note that pedestrian-only crossing traffic lights (like the one on Punchbowl Street midway between King Street and Beretania Avenue) stay red a long time after the button to cross is pushed, even when no cars are traveling in either direction. As a result, impatient pedestrians cross on a red light. Drivers end up having to stop for nothing when the light finally turns green for the pedestrian who activated the signal and is long gone by then.
Second, traffic lights should be synchronized on major traffic flows to create a "green wave." Often that is not the case. I notice that on Young Street intersections at McCully and Piikoi Streets during rush hour, cars remain stuck in intersections because traffic lights one block up are still red, but turn green after the first one turns red, and the drivers don't want to miss the green light on Beretania Street. As a result, pedestrians who get the green light on Young have to zigzag between cars trying to clear the intersection. Of course, drivers are to blame as well, for moving onto an intersection before it clears, but the original fault lies with poor traffic planning.
I call upon traffic planners to devise lights more intelligently, to cut down on needless stops at red lights and forestall possible accidents.
Colt's character, name worthy of great honor
Colt Brennan's character is world class on and off the football field. Lured by the beauty of Hawaii, its people, culture, lifestyle and the football program at the University of Hawaii, he turned aside an opportunity of a multimillion dollar salary with the NFL, choosing to stay with his teammates to play another year of football with UH.
The university might want to think of naming a building after him on campus. He is a role model worthy of being exemplified.
Michael P. Augusta