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Old Posted May 25, 2019, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
I'm not particularly thrilled by the predominance of the aerial infrastructure. I would have much rather seen a trenched system, but i'm positive the geologic/volcanic/seismic conditions of Hawaii had engineers scared to do anything below ground level. They made a college try at beautifying the concrete aeriel structure, but I find it quite hideous. It looks like something you'd see in the developing SE Asia and I'm not convinced it will at all age well. But that being said, to many who have never visited, many areas of Oahu aren't particularly pretty at ground level, so maybe it's not as much a negative aesthetic impact.
The elevation was due to weather, right-of-way, and costs, of course, but there's also a really important consideration in Hawaii - safety. The system does run on the ground (grade separated, obviously) in some places, for instance, by Leeward Community College.

The hulking look of the thing is down mostly to required over-engineering brought on by federal DOT standards.

I agree that HART doesn't have any real visual impact on an aesthetic level, as Honolulu is a highly ugly city at the ground level. The real visual impact is on the landscape, and I think that's an insignificant quibble, like complaining about power lines. Contract that with the massive increase in transportation mobility. The great fault of this line is: (1) that it wasn't extended to the east side from the very first, like with (possibly single track) spurs down onto Waikiki and up to the university; and (2) the delays that moved the construction timetable into overlap with a national labor shortage, with the result of massively pushed up costs. They missed two years of cheap labor that could have saved hundreds of millions and kept the project on track.

Anyway, people complain now, but I predict that when it's done, it'll be a beloved addition to the island that's heavily used, and about which people have that grim Hawaiian pride, like the H3. Guaranteed within six months of its opening at Ala Moana that the eastsiders organize to get an extension for the sake of 'tax fairness' or whatever.
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