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Thread: (Tokyo) Honoloulu Mayor sees potential in elevated train like Japanís

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    (Tokyo) Honoloulu Mayor sees potential in elevated train like Japanís

    I rode this line in May and was thoroughly impressed by this successful example of a public private partnership of urban rail transit. Apparently, the Mayor of Honolulu thought the same:

    Article URL: http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/05/news/story01.html
    © 1996-2005 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin | www.starbulletin.com

    CRYSTAL KUA / CKUA@STARBULLETIN.COM
    Mayor Mufi Hannemann, with senior adviser Paul Yonamine, rode Japanís Yurikamome rail yesterday.



    Mayor sees potential in elevated train like Japanís
    Hannemann tours the system of a potential rail transit bidder
    By Crystal Kua
    ckua@starbulletin.com
    TOKYO Ľ Mayor Mufi Hannemann and other city officials spent yesterday morning riding the waterfront rail transit system known as the Yurikamome line, named after a black-headed gull that swoops above the Tokyo waterfront.

    Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp., which is interested in building a rail system in Honolulu and has been courting the city for months, hosted a tour of the central operations center for the fully automated train system. The last phase of the 10-year-old Yurikamome rail line is under construction on an artificial island in Tokyo Bay.

    "I was very impressed. Sumitomo obviously built a great system here," said Hannemann, who met with Sumitomo President and Chief Executive Officer Motoyuki Oka. "The way they went about it, the criteria that they set, are many of the things I was looking for."

    The 8-mile Yurikamome line is the first of three rail systems that Hannemann is touring this week in Japan.

    His administration is trying to determine the best mass-transit system for Honolulu after he and the City Council approved a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge to help fund such a project. The new tax will be levied beginning January 2007.

    Rail is his first choice, Hannemann said. One of the reasons the mayor said he likes the Yurikamome line is that it runs along an exclusive elevated track, and not on the ground, avoiding traffic congestion.

    "I think they raised some interesting points of why you need to go elevated," Hannemann said.

    Yurikamome's Tadatoshi Watanabe told the group that going above ground level is also safer, because it prevents accidents with vehicles.

    Sumitomo has constructed complete rail systems or delivered trains for several projects in Asia and on the U.S. mainland, including the "people mover" system at Washington's Dulles International Airport and Los Angeles County's light-rail system.

    The mayor noted that one criticism of an elevated system is that "you block view plains with this monstrous thing that you're looking at."

    But Tokyo transit officials said there was an unexpected benefit for riders.

    "Now that it's elevated, a lot of the users, they feel that they enjoy the views from the train itself," Watanabe said through an interpreter. "People who have a little more time, they can enjoy the view and ride the Yurikamome system."

    Hannemann said he also liked that the project came in on time and on budget, and that five years after the line started up in 1995, the project started to turn a profit.

    Annual revenues are $83 million, while the cost to operate and maintain the system is $35 million, according to transit officials.

    When the project started, people wondered whether it was going to meet initial ridership projections of about 29,000 trips a day, but that number has grown to around 80,000 a day, officials said. Each train consists of six cars that can carry 352 people.

    The Yurikamome line also has rubber wheels rather than steel, which cuts down on noise and vibration.

    The mayor said he liked the idea that the project came about as a result of cooperation between the public and private sectors, with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government constructing part of the infrastructure and Yurikamome Inc. providing the equipment.

    The Yurikamome line offers a good example, Hannemann said, of how development sprouts around rail stations. Hannemann's group got off at the station in Shiodome, a once-underdeveloped section of Tokyo that is now booming.

    If the 6-foot-7 Hannemann had one slight complaint about the system, it was that he had to stoop a bit when he stood up in the train cabin.

    The Yurikamome Rail Transit Line
    Ľ Opened in 1995
    Ľ Cost $1.6 billion to construct

    Ľ Elevated, fully automated system

    Ľ Line runs 8 miles from the center of Tokyo at Shimashi to Ariake on the artificial island of Odaiba.

    Ľ Each train has six cars with a normal capacity of 352 passengers

    Ľ Average speed is 40 mph

    Ľ Daily ridership is at about 80,000

    Ľ Operated by Yurikamome Inc., with two-thirds ownership by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the remainder by 12 private banks




    Article URL: http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/05/news/story01.html
    © 1996-2005 The Honolulu Star-Bulletin | www.starbulletin.com

  2. #2
    Cyburbian MayorMatty's avatar
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    Waterfront railroad in Waikiki?

    I think an elevated rail along the boulevard directly parallel to Waikiki beach would be an eyesore. There's a major thoroughfare behind the first row of hotels and buildings which would be a much better location and has the heaviest transit bus usage..

  3. #3

    Not on Kalakaua

    Quote Originally posted by Mayor Matty
    I think an elevated rail along the boulevard directly parallel to Waikiki beach would be an eyesore. There's a major thoroughfare behind the first row of hotels and buildings which would be a much better location and has the heaviest transit bus usage..
    The 1-way street along the beach is Kalakaua Ave, and it's become quite a nice place to walk over the last decade. I don't imagine they'd be eager to screw that up.

    The 2-way street you refer to is Kuhio Ave, and that's where the late lamented typically crappy BRT system would have run, so I'd assume that any rail line (surface or elevated) would run there as well.

    When they talk about being able to have good views from the rail line, they probably mean out from Waikiki, where it might be elevated above the Nimitz Highway, for instance.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by doinky

    When they talk about being able to have good views from the rail line, they probably mean out from Waikiki, where it might be elevated above the Nimitz Highway, for instance.
    Remember, any elevated rail line may have to go very high to deal with topography. I've ridden the Yurikamome line and it goes VERY high because of topography near Tokyo Bay and to reach a bridge to cross Tokyo Bay. So if there's any topography at all the line will have a nice view at points. Having said that the guideway may be 150 to 200 feet above the surface at times so there's no ignoring it, but it would be very functional.

  5. #5

    No elevation challenges for this one

    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster
    Remember, any elevated rail line may have to go very high to deal with topography. I've ridden the Yurikamome line and it goes VERY high because of topography near Tokyo Bay and to reach a bridge to cross Tokyo Bay. So if there's any topography at all the line will have a nice view at points. Having said that the guideway may be 150 to 200 feet above the surface at times so there's no ignoring it, but it would be very functional.
    The route which they wanted to use for their not-really-BRT line wasn't hilly at all. If you wanted to build a rail line across the center of the island to the North Shore, you'd have these issues to deal with, but this particular Kapolei-Waikiki line would not have any elevation challenges. It stays close enough to the water that it's nearly flat. (You don't hit the really hilly parts of Honolulu unless you go north of H-1; this line stayed either IN or SOUTH of H-1).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    It makes sense to look around Japan to get a quick course in multi-modal island transit. Almost anything you may have heard about is in operation. It's good to see someone out "kicking the tires".
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

  7. #7
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    Below is the other transit modes the group looked at in Japan. (No safege system in the mix, so I guess I don't have a dog in this race)

    http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/07/news/story02.html

    http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/07/news/art2a.jpg

    And

    http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/08/news/story01.html

    http://starbulletin.com/2005/10/08/news/art1a.jpg
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

  8. #8
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Rubber wheels = mega expensive

    They need to be replaced much more often than standard steel wheels, and at a much higher unit cost.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    Rubber wheels = mega expensive

    They need to be replaced much more often than standard steel wheels, and at a much higher unit cost.
    True but on a elevated rail line rubber tires reduce noise and vibration which is a key environmentl impact.

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