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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trevor’s rants

When I was in college, the big debate at the time was where to locate the convention center.  I wrote a paper that proposed building it on the Ala Wai Golf Course and also sticking the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Shell and the Aquarium on the same site.  Thus, you would free up those locations for other public uses whist creating a more robust convention space (imagine having cocktails while giraffes walk by the window, or a meeting room overlooking an elephant enclosure).  We could have created walkable bridges over the Ala Wai connecting Waikiki to this space, cleaned up the Ala Wai and have restaurants and shops fronting the waterway like a Boardwalk promenade. 

Alas, I submitted my thoughts to my professor and, while it got an “A,” it never reached any higher. 


Then, about 5 years ago, when at a fundraising event for a certain City Councilman, I raised another question.  “Why do we want to build a fixed rail system when the self-driving car will be available in about the same timeframe?”  I argued that we could propose to Washington, and our local-born President, to become the epicenter for self-driving technology and try to get Federal funds, then match that with the private companies spearheading the research (Google, etc).  The response was literally “I don’t know anything about that.” 

So, I espoused the idea of this kick-ass-mind-blowing-tectonic-shift in everything we do.  Imagine this:

• A car is a wasted asset.  It sits for 95% of your day in your parking space.
• In the future we won’t “own” a car, we will have a car “membership” and we press a button on our phone and it will come to pick us up.
• Riding will become a passive experience….like riding a plane (watch TV, read a book, or eat a meal)
• No traffic lights or additional infrastructure needed.  Once the cars know where the other cars are and where they are going, there should be no traffic or accidents.  Even if a car is restricted to 30 MPH, you will still get to your destination faster with no stops!
• You will always be dropped off at the front door, no looking for parking.
• You will never have to maintain a car or fill gas again.  It will self-diagnose and take itself in.
• You will never pay for parking again.
• You don’t even have to drop your kids off at school, they can go themselves and you could monitor them on your phone
• Forget going out to dinner, the food could come to you in a specialized heated compartmented restaurant delivery car. 
• USPS, UPS and Fedex will have a box on your property where the automated delivery drops off your boxes.
• And most important of all… there will be no need for any new infrastructure.  The existing roadways are adequate.  A five lane highway could put 7 cars moving three inches apart if they wanted to.   

So, the response from our City Councilman?  “Well that’s years off and people won’t give up their cars!” Really?  Is it that far off?  Google, Apple and all major automobile manufacturers are already building and testing these cars.  What will come first, the rail construction or the self-riving car? 
And I like my cars too, just like I used to love my picture-tube TV.  But when the flat screen LCD showed up, I set that picture tube on the sidewalk for bulk garbage pickup.

 

Now we have another issue to tackle.  UH Football.  So here are my thoughts.

The State granted all the Makai land in Kakaako to OHA to pay off some of the monies owed to them, then tied their hands by telling them they couldn’t build residential like all the developers on the other side of Ala Moana Blvd.  I won’t get into that…but what about building a new venue?  Call it a multi-purpose stadium. 

I was recently at Madison Square Garden watching the Knicks lose to the Cavaliers.  What I noticed was that the experience was about 50% of the game and 50% about being in the venue.  They had legitimately good food, great drinks, interesting timeout events, free t-shirts, foam fingers, hawkers, celebrity cams and jumbo-trons everywhere.  In San Diego’s Gaslamp District, residents and visitors stay in neighborhood hotels, eat at the great restaurants and walk to Petco Park to catch a Padres game.

Imagine a venue, on the waterfront, showcasing Hawaii’s beauty to the world while exhibition MLS, MLB, NBA, NFL games are going on!  Imagine that we support UH Football and, while we want them to win, we show up to the event because the venue, food, friends, and energy are so phenomenal.  We go to the games regardless of the outcome!

With the new venue, we can construct hotels, shopping and restaurants around it.  Once we have all that in place it will be a great venue to host local, national, and international events.  Imagine a live MMA or boxing event that was broadcasted in primetime on the mainland US but still 3PM in Honolulu.  You grant tax-exemptions for events held there and they will come.  Built it and they will come.

Aloha,
TWB.
 

 

Posted by Trevor Benn on November 25, 2015 at 11:49 AM
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