$25 Million —- that’s the figure the Mayor has come up with to encourage neighborhood development around the rail stations. TODs. Transit Oriented Development: the raison d’etre for rail in the first place.
According to an article in PBN, “Caldwell wants to spend $25 million to fund a rail-related Transit-Oriented Development plan. Of that, $20.3 million would go toward streets, land acquisition for bus and rail hubs, multimodel studies and “catalytic” projects at the Pearlridge and Kapalama stations. The rest would go toward planning. Caldwell said that the rail will provide opportunities to develop middle-class neighborhoods along the line and that by focusing on development along the urban corridor through the plan, the city can preserve its green space.”
Mayor Caldwell isn’t the only one to be talking about building in order to preserve green space. The Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) with its “same great O`ahu” campaign is also saying — not just implying — that we want to keep the country country and by building a “whole new way of urban living” we can do that. So are these promises or are they threats?
Too bad we can’t make them sign in blood. Using keep the country country (PRP) and preserving green space (Mayor Caldwell) are catch phrases that are designed to make us believe that the trade off is worth it, if it is in fact a real trade off. This seems really sneaky to me. Especially since, as I have said before, all the land zoned for development on O`ahu would have been built out by 2005. But! Presto Change-o! Rezone Ag land and you can build forever. I don’t know if there is a catalog of Ag land that has been rezoned for development since 2005, but it would be interesting to see it.
Now that rail is a reality, of course we need TODs. Fooled me there! I ignorantly thought that the developers of the TODs would be paying for the streets as a condition of building around the rail stations. But gee whiz, it turns out we should pay for the streets and get the land prepped for developers (land acquisition by eminent domain, I think). Someone will be making money on this, but I am not sure who.
One item I read said that advertising ON the bus (yes I am going there again) could raise as much as $20 million annually. Coincidence, or is it more? Bus transit pays for Rail transit development. I bet they aren’t planning on putting ads on their shiny new trains.
Since they are using “green space” and “well, keeping the country country” (BTW the guy who says this in the PRP commercial is standing in a parking lot) it seems like somewhere, somehow there should be some kind of guarantee that green space will be preserved and exactly what that green space will be. And keeping the country country. What exactly does that mean? I can only say that development around all the rail stations, 14 new condominiums, and a “new kind of urban living” in Kaka’ako seems like a lot. Is there a plan here for keeping green space and country country? Or are these throwaway lines that are supposed to draw us in?
According to Wikipedia, the name TheBus and the familiar yellow, black and white paint scheme was introduced in 1974 to give our city buses a less stodgy image. HRT became MTL when the city took over the bus operations. At the time Honolulu itself was run by former Hartford, Connecticut citizen Mayor Frank F. Fasi. Fasi was Mayor of Honolulu City and County for most of the last century, or at least it seemed that way. It was he who renamed the bus TheBus and gave it its new trade dress in 1974. That sleek, comparatively sophisticated trade dress has lasted 40 years … which from a branding perspective is pretty darn good. Even Hawaiian Air’s famed Pualani logo, designed by Landor and Associates in 1975 has changed since then.
TheBus is the 20th most utilized transit system in the nation with more than 70 million passengers carried in any given year. It is also the only transit system to be recognized twice as America’s Best Transit System — the most recent time being in 2000-2001. Expanding TheBus system and routes, in my opinion, could have been part of a cheaper (and more workable) solution to Honolulu’s traffic problems. We didn’t need rail, we don’t need rail and even the rail proponents acknowledge that it won’t solve the traffic problem. But alas, that is for other blogs (which I have already written).
Prior to the city takeover of HRT in 1971, outdoor advertising was allowed on the exterior of the buses. That changed with Fasi’s acquisition (yay Frank!) and although no law has been passed specifically banning exterior advertising, a tradition has (surely!) been established — a tradition of more than 40 years — for no advertising on the outside of buses. The Outdoor Circle, fanatic protectors of Hawai`i’s beauty (at least insofar as it is in their control)vehemently opposes advertising on the outside of the buses but since they are moving vehicles, it could be permitted.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell, looking for ways to raise money, proposed advertising on the outside of TheBus in 2013, and it has raised its ugly head again just this week before the City Council. WE CAN’T LET THIS HAPPEN.
Many cities have advertising on the outside of their buses. But they are not big visitor destinations. They are not paradise. They have billboards so what difference do moving billboards make?
That’s for other cities, not for Honolulu. What is Mayor Caldwell thinking? Frank Fasi would have never let this happen.
In my senior year at boarding school, I lived at “First House” with four roommates. That is, there were five of us in one room — the former living room at First House. We had a set of bunk beds, and three single beds. No closet. Yes dressers, I think. Down the hall was our bathroom, which was also our closet. There was a rack for all of our hanging clothes, a toilet, a sink and a shower. And our parents were paying for this!
The people who lived in First House, and 2nd House and 3rd House ate in a common dining room. The chef was Speedy Warwick. There were rumors that he was Dionne Warwick’s father, but of course it was hard to believe. In any event, Speedy Warwick made our breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Much to our surprise, one day Dionne Warwick showed up. I managed to corner her on the stairway outside of Speedy’s kitchen and got her autograph on a napkin. I carried it around for twenty years or more, and finally threw it away.
Now, First House and its companion numbered houses are gone, and so is Speedy Warwick’s kitchen. So is my Dionne Warwick autograph. So, probably, is Speedy Warwick. He was a really nice guy.
I just received my copy of the SI swimsuit issue, and there are plenty of beautiful women in it. Most of them are in suits you can’t swim in. Many of them are in places you can’t swim.
I can appreciate (and do) beautiful women as much as any one, but there is always something that really annoys me. This year it is a very short 3 page section called Athletes which features a surfer, a soccer player and a NBA player. I am now more irritated because Samsung and my Note 2014 will not allow me to type the initials of the Women’s National Basketball Association: it only recognizes the NBA.
So while I was going to rant about why we see male athletes in their sports gear and women athletes in bathing suits that would make Victoria Secret proud, I can now rant about how even a tablet does not recognize women equally to men.
I know it is a swimsuit issue, and the soccer, basketball player and surfer are certainly up to the high standard of SI, but I wonder if it would be possible to have even a side bar with a photo of them doing what they really do (okay a surfer does wear a bathing suit but probably does not surf in the ones she posed in) because SI is featuring them as athletes and not models. It is also annoying that while they acknowledge the gold medal, the great basketball and surfing, SI actually says that (while these women do great athletic feats), they “brought their A game” to the SI shoot.
There being no games being played, I can only conclude that SI meant to say they brought their ass game to the shoot.
If I sound like a crabby old woman, so be it. I probably am. Especially as I can no longer bring my A game anywhere.
Pacific Resource Partnership is running commercials about living in the new downtown (Kakaako mainland look alike dwellings) , extolling the new lifestyle and and assuring us (lest we thought differently which we probably do) it will be “the same great O`ahu.”
I am wondering when we reach the tipping point that makes it no longer “the same great O`ahu.” When 14 new condos arise? When new housing is fully built out in Kakaako? When Waikiki has more than 50,000 hotel rooms? When rail is being built and people realize that it will block their favorite views?
“The Same Great O`ahu” is a handy phrase that is very much open to interpretation. Given the human propensity to glorify (mourn?) the past, when it stops being the “same great O`ahu” is pegged to some changes that happen after one arrives to live here. We all resist change, especially where we live, but at some point all of us say out loud : it is no longer ”the same great O’ahu” it was when we arrived.
When I worked with the Honolulu Advertiser, the publisher noted that all the land zoned for development would be developed by 2005. From an “I live here” point of view, that was great news. He didn’t anticipate how quickly land zoned for ag would be re-zoned for development.
For my son’s father, who grew up here, it stopped being “the same great O’ahu” when Waikiki went from the Royal, the Moana and the Halekulani to the Sheraton Waikiki and the Hyatt in Waikiki. (One of my first jobs here was in the advertising department of the Sheraton Waikiki — where we would joke that people should stay at the Sheraton Waikiki because it was the only place in Waikiki where you couldn’t see the Sheraton Waikiki.) For many kama`aina, it stopped being the same great O`ahu when H-3 was built. Save Sandy Beach and Keep the Country Country are efforts (one successful, one in progress) to make sure it is “the same great O`ahu.”
In 1976 the Waikiki Special Design District was created and rules were tightened in 1992. Then we capped room count at 32,800. Today we have 50,000 hotel rooms in Waikiki. I am told by a friend that at least once a week, a visitor letter decrying that it is not the same great Waikiki any more. The visitor industry is our lifeblood. Have we finally pushed the environment so far that it really is no longer the same great Waikiki for our visitors?
Where I live and own a business, in Kailua, there are many people who firmly believe it is not the same great Kailua it was twelve years ago. Some even call it “Kaikiki.” Of course I am biased, because I own a business here and I appreciate that the redevelopment of Kailua makes it possible for me to live and work here. But we are all waiting to see what the new owner will do — will big box retailers (in addition to Target) come here? Then maybe I, too, will mourn the passing of the same great Kailua.
For me, it stopped being “the same great O`ahu” when the inexorable march to rail began. I have written extensively about rail, and I firmly believe that it will cause great harm to O`ahu’s tourism base, and maybe even the State’s. I believe it will be a blight on the island’s beautiful landscape, and that it will add unnecessary development (TODs or Transit Oriented Development) at most of its 19 stations. The conspiracy theorist in me even believes that the “powers that be” allowed our roads to become the third worst in the country so that rail would seem more appealing. Part B of the Chris Christie theory of traffic control.
However you look at it, we are perilously close to ”the same great O’ahu being irredeemable and that will be a heavy price for us all to pay.
Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.