BY BOBBIE AND CLIFF SLATER – Someone is finally doing something to curtail the ever-growing traffic snarl on the H-1 and H-2 freeways.
Rep. Rida Cabanilla from Waipahu and Senator Maile Shimabukuro from Wai’anae introduced House Bill 1357 and Senate Bill 1343 respectively, which propose to link new housing projects to freeway capacity. The bill will require that before new housing projects are begun, the state Department of Transportation must certify to the Governor that there is adequate freeway capacity during peak rush hour for commuting to work in the urban center. This is a critical, meaningful attempt to actually improve traffic before more building. It is a no brainer.
Adequate rush hour traffic is nationally recognized to be Level of Service D. Freeways in 2020, even with rail, are anticipated to be at Level of Service F, which is characterized as “standstill” and “gridlock.”
Current building plans on O’ahu will put another 65,000 houses in Leeward and Central O’ahu and another 40,000-60,000 cars on the freeways. That’s nearly double what we have now. Meanwhile, there are no plans, or possibility, to widen the H-1/H-2 merge.
That bottle-neck will just get worse. Studies show that Leeward and Central commuters who now spend an hour to an hour and a half in traffic each way, will add another half hour to an hour to their travel time, each way. These bills at this time are extremely necessary.
On this Wednesday, February 6, there will be a hearing in Senate Conference Room 309 at 11:20 on Senate Bill 1343. Please show up for this short meeting, which is expected to take 45 minutes.