Mayoral candidates spar over rail "at grade"
For weeks now, the leading candidates for Honolulu mayor have been boasting about their strengths. At the forum held at the Japanese Cultural Center Tuesday, they shared their weaknesses.
HONOLULU - For weeks now, the leading candidates for Honolulu mayor have been boasting about their strengths. At the forum held at the Japanese Cultural Center Tuesday, they shared their weaknesses.
Guess who admitted to not listening to his wife enough?
"I remind myself, I need to listen more to Donna," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Who do you think joked about hating to spend money, and lacking something?
"There's a certain absence of charm, I'm told," said Peter Carlisle.
It might surprise you who has a weakness for fast food, chalking it up to impatience.
"My weakness is for McDonalds," said Charles Djou.
That was the lighter side of the mayoral campaign. Honolulu Rotarians wanted to know about serious stuff too, like why can't rail be redesigned to protect viewing planes downtown, and could that help lower the cost of the train. One said, it's an idea that may be worth exploring.
"And yes, that does include putting the system on the ground so we don't spoil our beautiful sight lines that we have here in Honolulu.it makes no sense to spend these billions of dollars only to ruin the very aspect, the wonders and beauties that we have in Honolulu," said Djou.
But, does he know what he is talking about? The two others maintain that going “at grade” would drive up the costs and would not make for "rapid” transit.
"I can't imagine putting something on the ground that is going to invite the usual levels of suicides, the interaction with cars, and that splits Downtown Honolulu with an impenetrable barrier. Putting this train on the ground is a disaster," said Carlisle.
"If it’s on the ground, you can go no faster than the fastest car, or bus. You have to stop at some of the intersections, or you are going to create massive gridlock. Our train system will move somewhere between 650 to 800 people, every five minutes in a four-car train. You can't do that at grade," said Caldwell.
And the reality is, going underground with rail would jack up the price even more. Round and round over rail, hoping the candidates’ answers help put things in sharper focus come V-Day.