Think About It: Tracking The Train - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

September 12, 2013

Think About It: Tracking The Train

As revealed in last Thursday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the rail project is going to need money for safety gates on its station platforms. Barriers to help keep people from possibly falling on to the tracks seem like a relatively obvious and basic expectation. What's amazing about the story is that someone forgot to include or even mention a need for safety gates in the originally accepted plans, and it will now cost $27-million to include these seemingly perfunctory security barriers, which are widely seen as a basic feature on train platforms worldwide.

It kind of makes you wonder how, in this litigious day and age, someone put together a proposal and had it approved by lawyers and engineers when a vital safety factor was omitted? Wouldn't it seem like safety gates or screens on the platform would be considered as essential as, say, rails, cars, and train windows? I do assume that all of those items are included in the existing master plan. The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit executive director indicated in the newspaper's article that he couldn't fathom why safety gates would not have been initially budgeted, discussed, and included. There is contingency money for such "oops" omissions or errors, but it kind of makes you think that perhaps somebody outside of the inside group should revisit the detailed plans to make sure nothing else was left off the "must-have" list, much like you and I would ask someone to proofread a vital document before we send it out... just to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

…Like a back-up power-failure system, to make sure that driverless trains can get back to a station in the event of a power failure mid-ride. Yes, that seems like another item you would hope planners would have automatically included, rather than ignore nervous passengers possibly stranded 20-feet above the ground for hours if a power failure occurs. So, pre-construction- right now, might be a good time to have various independent parties review the transit plans to make sure any other necessary, perfunctory, and/or valuable items are included and thus budgeted for... like they should have been in the first place. Think about it…

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