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SIERRA CLUB SUPPORTS RAIL FOR HONOLULU

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We note that the Sierra Club supports rail for Honolulu. Here’s an excerpt from their position statement:

“The Sierra Club O`ahu Group supports the Fixed Guideway (rail) alternative. The Fixed Guideway alternative provides what O`ahu needs most: an alternative to the automobile. O`ahu residents have become overly dependent on private automobiles, and this dependence has devastating effects: reliance on fossil fuels, pollution and global warming, traffic congestion and the resulting loss of productivity, consumption of more land for roadways and parking, and negative impacts on public health and community life. The O`ahu Group believes these are urgent problems that require a major shift in our transportation habits, and therefore supports the development of a rail system on O`ahu.”

The Sierra Club further explains why they support rail transit:

“The Sierra Club believes one of the biggest environmental challenges facing O‘ahu today is suburban sprawl. A grade-separated, rail mass transit system is our best opportunity to fundamentally shift our development paradigm away from suburban sprawl toward denser, more compact urban development.”

They also weigh in on why Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) won’t work for Honolulu:

“Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which many rail critics propose as a solution; would be difficult to implement in Honolulu…. BRT works best in areas where there are wide roads where 20 or 30 feet can be taken from existing rights-of-way to make room for dedicated bus lanes and platforms. Honolulu has relatively narrow roadways and taking 20-30 feet of them to dedicate to buses and platforms would be extremely problematic. No unused land is available along the length of the city that would permit building new road lanes. So any lanes taken by BRT will disperse cars onto the remaining lanes, causing a sharp increase in congestion and reduce the available space for bicycle lanes.”

To read more about the Sierra Club’s position on rail and BRT go to:  http://www.sierraclubhawaii.com/railfaq.php