10 Reasons to Stop Rail at Middle Street
- Most of rail’s transportation value will be achieved at Middle Street.
- Cost estimates to Ala Moana Center, already doubled, are still low by at least $5 billion.
- Stopping at Middle Street will preserve historic Honolulu and the waterfront.
- Sea levels are going to rise by almost three feet in 30 years, making in-town rail stations inaccessible.
- Billions can go to parks, schools, housing, health care, elder care and sea level rise.
- Unfair taxing of Neighbor Islanders can be phased out.
- Operation and maintenance costs will fall.
- Burial remains will be preserved.
- A Middle Street transit center will capitalize on new trends in ride-hailing, ride-sharing, and autonomous vehicles.
- Energy savings (rail uses more energy per passenger-mile than cars, and double TheBus).
So let’s take time out to discuss and plan!
Building elevated rail through downtown Honolulu would create enormous construction impacts since entire roadways will need to be cut open to pour underground spread foundations to support the weight of the elevated guideway. Constructing the football-field sized stations planned for elevated rail would create immense disruption to nearby structures, traffic and businesses downtown.
Building elevated rail through downtown Honolulu is fraught with
engineering challenges and unforeseen conditions. The ground makai of Richards Street (including Nimitz Highway) is fill material, not soil or rock you can rest a lot of weight on. The existing buildings downtown were not built using simple pilings as per average construction.
Some, such as Pacific Guardian Center, are built on giant floating footings that work sort of like giant concrete boats. The same type of giant concrete bases would need to be created for the columns that will hold the elevated guideway. This would create enormous construction impacts since entire roadways will need to be cut open, and the foundation of nearby buildings could be compromised. These are very different conditions than the inland construction in Waipahu or Pearl City, with firm soil and buildings far enough away from the guideway that foundation issues don’t arise.
Express Bus Routes from Middle Street
Existing express bus routes from Middle Street to Downtown, UH and Waikiki are shown below.