Cayetano: Rail A Wall of Concrete Snaking Along Honolulu’s Waterfront

·By Michael Levine

Michael Levine/Civil Beat

Anti-rail mayoral hopeful says “ugly” project would ruin view planes.


Is rail really as "ugly" as critics say? Chime in with your aesthetic assessment below.

1. East Kapolei station, for example, will be located along North-South Road, mauka of Kapolei Parkway. From there to the ocean, as the crow flies, is about 2.5 miles, according to's "How Far is it Between" function that we used to measure distances throughout this Fact Check.

For context, that's about twice as far as Punchbowl Cemetery is from the ocean, and is no more "waterfront" than is Palolo District Park high above Civil Beat's office in Kaimuki.

The West Loch station, as its name would suggest, is pretty darn close to Pearl Harbor — less than four-tenths of a mile. Similarly close to the water is the Leeward Community College station.

Pearlridge Center and Aloha Stadium stops are even closer, at about a tenth of a mile. And though the rail line doesn't hug the shape of the lochs at all points, it's accurate to portray those sections of track as being close to the water.

2. There are a few different ways of defining "the city." From a governmental perspective, the City and County of Honolulu includes the entire island of Oahu. But few would actually refer to Waianae or Kahuku as part of "the city."

There's the First Congressional District, generally referred to as "Urban Honolulu" for electoral purposes. It stretches from Ko Olina in the west to Mililani in the north and Makapuu Point in the east. Are those places part of "the city?" For many, no.

The U.S. Census Bureau has created a designated place it also refers to as "Urban Honolulu." It's home to about 340,000 of the island's 950,000 residents, and goes from Salt Lake to Palolo. Here's a map:

The U.S. Census Bureau's definition of "Urban Honolulu."