A month or two ago I wrote a letter to the Honolulu Advertiser (we had just come back from there, and I was still reading the paper regularly online) rebutting the claims made by various right-wingers that Honolulu wasn’t dense enough to support rail. (As it turns out, if you’re measuring residential density, they’re the densest city in the country – yes, more so than even New York City!). This is coming up because Honolulu is attempting yet again to start a rail system after a disastrous flirtation with Bus Rapid Transit which ended as almost all such flirtations do – with a scaled back system that doesn’t perform any better than city buses, and thus didn’t attract any new riders.
Today I was reminded of this again since their their drive-time columnist included this small blurb at the end of his column:
Still think of Honolulu has a small town? Think again.
Emporis.com reports that Honolulu is fourth in the nation when it comes to the number of high-rise buildings (10 stories or more).
The company, which specializes in geography information, says there are 424 high-rise buildings in the urban core from Pearl Harbor to Hawai’i Kai. That’s enough to make us 14th in the world.
In America, only New York City (5,454), Chicago, (1,042) and Los Angeles (449) have more high-rises than Honolulu.
And yet, even in Hawaii, there are those (like Cliff Slater) who claim that rail won’t work in Honolulu despite the fact that it works in far less-dense cities and the fact that the huge tourist movement from the airport to Waikiki could fill up three or four rail lines in the blink of an eye.
How dense is dense enough? Clearly the only dense things here are the road warriors themselves.