Lingle puts human face on an old problem
The most intriguing thing about Governor-elect Linda Lingle's surprise statement that she is considering a double-deck toll highway between Kapolei and downtown isn't the project itself.
Rather, it is the way she has approached this issue.
Lingle describes this as far more than a transportation or congestion issue a mechanical problem that must be attacked with mechanical solutions.
Rather she sees it as a social and human issue, and that's an interesting new way of looking at this never-ending commuter headache.
The long drive times faced by Leeward residents steal time from the rest of their lives, cause children to be left home without supervision for longer than necessary and generally degrade the quality of life for those folks, Lingle noted.
That's fresh thinking and a sensitive way of looking at an age-old problem.
Now, we have our doubts, both fiscal and aesthetical, about double-decking highways along our beautiful coastline and into town. That discussion has a long way to go before we would be convinced that the double-decker project makes sense.
But we appreciate the human dimension that Lingle has put on the matter. It should stimulate innovative thinking.
One idea that bears further exploration is the idea that the Leeward-to-downtown commute is only a burden because so many people take it. The original concept for Kapolei, the "Second City," was that it would be far more than a bedroom suburb. It was supposed to be a fully contained second city, with its own work and school opportunities, entertainment and recreation.
That idea remains valid. While some signs of a true second city have begun to emerge, it is far from the original dream.
Our hope is that the new Lingle administration will put fresh energy into fulfilling the true potential of O'ahu's second city. There is more than one way to solve that social problem Lingle so correctly identified.