Oahu traffic solutions
aired at meeting

Subsidized free bus service, rail transit, and bridges over Pearl Harbor from Ewa to Aloha Stadium were some of the solutions to Oahu’s traffic problems proposed during the first of several public meetings Tuesday night.

One woman said subsidizing free bus service would be cheaper than paying for rail transit.

The Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding public meetings to get feedback on four concepts to solve traffic problems.

The concepts were derived from proposals submitted by the public since OMPO sent out a call for ideas in January.

OMPO Executive Director Gordon Lum stressed the need for public input before a draft plan is drawn up.

Traffic engineer Dick Kaku of Kaku Associates, contracted by OMPO, presented four concepts:

» An islandwide concept including highway widening projects, an expansion of TheBus and proposed intra-island ferry routes.

» An H-1 freeway concept that focuses on major bottlenecks, emphasizing highway improvements including widening and H-1 high-occupancy toll lanes.

» A concept focusing on Pearl Harbor with a bridge from Iroquois Point to Waipio Peninsula to Ford Island to Kamehameha Highway and a tunnel under the harbor entrance.

» A concept focusing on rail transit from Central Oahu to Waikiki that would include Kapolei and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Kaku said that the concepts were not to be taken as recommendations or stand-alone plans, merely concepts.

Some of the 75 to 100 people who attended Tuesday night’s meeting at McKinley High School cafeteria suggested transportation plans should be integrated with smart growth, such as creating jobs in areas of new housing developments.

Kaimuki Neighborhood Board Chairman Mike Abe, who weighed in on smart growth said after the meeting that the big picture must be looked at rather than on transportation alone.

Abe criticized OMPO for basing its concepts on car transportation but failing to factor in gas prices.

One woman said she didn’t want to see anything disturb “our view planes with elevated viaducts,” preferring to use existing infrastructure.

Tom Dinnell, a former bike rider, pitched bike-oriented development in the plan.

The state forecasts Oahu's population and employment will grow 27 percent by 2030 from 2000, and demand for travel will grow 32 percent.

Other meetings will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, at the Mayor's Conference Room, 3rd Floor at Honolulu Hale, and at 7 p.m. Oct. 3, at the Asing Park Recreation Center in Ewa.

Those unable to attend may submit ideas by visiting www.OahuMPO.org/ortp or call 587-2015.

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