It’s the week of mid-terms and I don’t know how many of these I’ll end up pumping out. It’s a Wednesday and I’ve actually been home since about 3 in the afternoon. I have a lot of grading to get to, but I took care of all my test-related items this morning, so I’ll be spending my free time between now and my test (Friday) grading essays. I can’t think of a less satisfying way to spend one’s time, except for maybe watching a Mets game in September. But I digress.
My friend Brett is home for Christmas. He lives in Vegas now. I have no way of knowing this for sure, but apparently he’s doing a whole lot of sinning and not so much citying. What can you do? Anyway, I was working in my classroom on Monday afternoon when I saw his name pop up on my phone. “G-Munz!” I shouted. There was a beat of silence at the other end. “Now I remember why I moved,” Brett said. “Traffic!” I shouted with glee, in part because I was happy I knew the answer to a question he did ask, but also because I was sitting in my classroom instead of in my car.
Brett went on to tell me about how he’d gotten a pretty damn good look at Aloha Stadium because he had been sitting near the exit for something like 20 minutes. That’s small time, Brett. Come home when there’s some shit with a garbage truck or an overpass getting drilled. That’s big boy stuff.
Since I love conspiracies, I absolutely believe that the many simultaneous roadwork projects have been coordinated as such for the purpose of creating traffic. The aim is to raise the anti-traffic movement to a fever pitch in order to sway public opinion in favor of the rail project. Does this seem crazy? Of course it’s not. By the rail advocates’ admission, the rail line would only nominally affect road traffic, buuuuuut if enough people get pissed off enough about having to sit in traffic whenever they leave the house, then rail will seem more palatable based on the logic that doing something is better than doing nothing. If that sounds ridiculous, then why did you buy that thing you didn’t need on Black Friday when you missed out on the thing you really wanted? Yeah, because something is better than nothing.
Oahu is a relatively small island. Space is limited. This would be a problem even if the island was perfectly flat, but it isn’t. The topography of Oahu basically resembles two parking cones placed next to each other. You can build roads on the parts that are flat and some of the low inclines. Sometimes you can drill a hole straight through the cone, but it’s rare. But that’s about it.
Traffic is a problem, but it’s only the by-product of a bigger problem that there’s no solution for: overpopulation.They’re not going to build new roads, no major freeways, anyway. I’d like to think that if they were, they would have come up with something by now. The best that can be done is widen them where possible. They can do that magic where they paint three lines instead of two and freaks everyone the hell out.
But they’re going to keep building houses. They’re going to keep building nice townhouses and suburban communities and make money hand over fist. It’s inevitable. More people will be able to live on the island (which isn’t growing to compensate) and more people will be on the roads and there will be more traffic. It’s the only logical conclusion. Short of blowing up and flattening out a mountain range, I don’t see any other option.That’s why when that one commercial with the person getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work ran, I laughed. That’s exactly what time I get up. Okay, it’s what time my alarm is set for. But that’s by choice. I sacrifice sleep for a quicker drive to work. Very soon, though, it will be out of necessity. And unless Rail is shipping people off-island one way, it’s not really going to stop that.