How to leave the car in the garage

I spent two days in Honolulu last week and was stuck in rush hour traffic. I kept thinking, “How do people deal with this every day?” I came home to Kaua‘i with a sense of relief and appreciation.

But on a fairly regular basis, I’m stuck in similar traffic here. Just try going from Kapa‘a to Lihu‘e around noon on a Saturday — it can take 30 minutes to travel from Foodland to Kuamo‘o Road. Most of the cars have just one person inside. It feels like the 80,000 or so vehicles we have on Kaua‘i are all on the road at the same time trying to go to the same place.

Wasted time, high gas prices, global warming from CO2 emissions, frayed nerves — these are just a few results from our love affair with the automobile. But what’s the alternative? How can we keep the car in the garage and get where we want to go?

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of routes and scheduled times for the Kaua‘i Bus, thanks to the efforts of Janine Rapozo, county Transportation Agency executive. And people are responding.

There were more than 33,000 bus riders in the month of August — an increase of about 4,000 since January 2008. At a bargain rate of $15 for a monthly pass, taking the bus is a smart economic choice, plus you have time to read or meet other passengers. The County Council has authorized funds to expand the system even more.

On Thursday, Sept. 25, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Kaua‘i Community College Cafeteria, Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance is offering a session for its members and the public on the topic “Enhancing Kaua‘i ’s Public Transportation.” Featured speaker Janine Rapozo will talk about the latest plans for the Kaua‘i Bus.

There will also be a discussion of transit options that could augment the Kaua‘i Bus, such as park ‘n’ ride lots, connector shuttles, vanpools, rideshare matching services and “demand response” systems that use computers to match your need to get somewhere with an option that gives you door-to-door service.

For more information about KPAA and this event, go to www.kauainetwork.org or call 632-2005.

• Diane Zachary is president and CEO of Kaua‘i Planning & Action Alliance. She can be reached at kpaa@kauainetwork.org

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