Ye olde debate on mass transit lumbers along
The contentious debate over mass transit for Honolulu has gone on way too long. How long? Well, arguments over the first proposal for an advanced, new rapid-transit system involved how many horses would pull TheCarriage. TheCarriage system was envisioned as a way to break horse gridlock on city streets, not to mention dealing with the "Poo Factor."
Instead of everyone riding individual horses, Territorial Lt. Gov. William "Hoss Tweed" Pacheco proposed a government-subsidized carriage system that would run in specially designed wagon ruts at breath-taking speeds of 4.5 miles per hour (3.8 knots).
TheCarriage RCCs (Rapid Conveyance Contraptions) would carry up to 10 people and be propelled by four state-of-the-art geldings. TheCarriage would result in a decrease of roughly 2,300 horses using the streets and, more important, roughly 23,000 pounds of poo.
Hoss Tweed's proposal immediately came under fire by territorial legislators on a number of fronts:
1. The presence of TheCarriage vehicles speeding up and down the roadways would destroy the quaint, pastoral nature of Honolulu.
2. Noise from the copper-rimmed wagon wheels would scare chickens and other small animals napping in the front yards of city houses. (One proponent of TheCarriage suggested that to control the noise the vehicles could have "wheels composed of a soft elastic polymeric substance made from the latex of a tropical plant," but she was roundly criticized as a crank and, possibly, a witch.)
3. Using four horses to pull the conveyance contraptions was a financial extravagance the territory could not afford. Two horses would be plenty, both in power and speed.
4. Hoss Tweed neglected to look at other options for easing horse and human congestion on roadways, like getting bigger horses that would carry more than two people and setting up special "Pedestrian Piggyback Paths" for people willing to carry their friends on their backs.
5. TheCarriage system would result in a devastating decrease in horse poo on the island, causing the collapse of many farms that use the poo for fertilizer and sending the territorial economy into "that thing where everything suddenly costs a lot more." (The term "inflation" had not yet been invented.)
6. Hoss Tweed's brother, Wilbur "Floss Tweed" Pacheco, owned the only carriage-manufacturing business in Hawaii and thus would get all the carriage construction money.
7. Hoss Tweed is a "poo-poo head."
The argument continues to this day over the appropriate form of rapid mass transit for Honolulu, and the squabbles have not changed that much. Substitute "fixed rail" for "ruts," and "air pollution" for "horse poo," and it's the same old debate.
Maybe we should have stuck to riding horses after all. The H-1/H-2 merge in Pearl City at 7 a.m. would certainly look more pastoral.
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