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  #501  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 4:20 AM
cornholio cornholio is offline
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Originally Posted by Kisai View Post
No the only issue was Mayor Corrigan who hates poor people and students. If anyone else was Mayor you could be certain that they would have included the Gondola in the transit plebiscite.

As for if it's cost effective, if it costs 3 million to operate, how much does the buses cost? http://www.translink.ca/en/Plans-and...ce-Review.aspx

135 - 6,210,000 annual boarding's, $7,496,000, cost per passenger $1.21
143 - 797,000 annual boarding's, $1,387,000, cost per passenger $1.74
144 - 1,842,000 annual boarding's, $3,447,000, cost per passenger $1.87
145 - 2,653,000 annual boarding's, $2,248,000, cost per passenger $0.85

The Gondola would directly replace the 145, and would likely truncate the other three to the gondola location.
144 is from Metrotown station so most of that bus route would be intact up to the Gondola station.
143 is from Coquitlam station, this likely gets replaced with the Evergreen line in 2017
135 is from Burrard Station, it does not overlap with the skytrain, so likely this would be the only bus still going up the mountain unless it gets re-routed to the Gondola.

Of note the 135 is completely down Hastings, and is more likely to be replaced with another Skytrain/Subway line if the capacity ever warranted that. So if no Gondola gets built, it's likely the rest of the line becomes rapid-transit.
They should run the Gondola (either same cables or new run) down the mountain to a new west coast express station and across the inlet to Ann-more with a new park and ride facility and a extended David avenue. The 135 can terminate in Port Moody.
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  #502  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 5:04 AM
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Those are all amazing ideas. I had never even thought of the potential beyond just Burnaby Mountain. Of course nothing is going to happe, but it's a nice fantasy. :roll:
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  #503  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 5:36 PM
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If it's of any interest to the forum, I created the preliminary feasibility report for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola. I was hired by SFU Community Trust in '07 and the project ran for about six months. I ran trip demand forecasts, financial analysis of 'status quo' and 'improved bus' service options and then did an alternative technology evaluation that arrived at a bi-cable ropeway system as being optimal for SFU 145-replacement scenario, which benefits from an extraordinarily fortuitous corridor from Production Way-SFU station up the mountain to a location immediately below the SFU Univercity Plaza. It would only cross over half a dozen or so townhouses and otherwise spend the entire corridor over public rights of way and property.

As I dug deeper and ran the numbers (and consulted with the Doppelmayr Garaventa rep for our region) I recall being bowled over by the level of service that was possible and just how favourably it compared to the 145: a 30 passenger cabin (same off-the-shelf models used by the Peak to Peak gondola at Whistler Blackcomb) departing every 34 seconds during peak periods and scalable to match diurnal peak demand bands. My order of magnitude capital cost estimate was within 5%-10% of the Bryce Tupper Engineering Consultants feasibility report numbers that SFU Community Trust commissioned following my work, and the net present value of the gondola system versus 145 bus service were competitive and saved just under $50 million dollars over the time frame of my analysis. The capex numbers in CH2MHill's business case analysis that Translink commissioned were a fair bit higher than mine and Bryce Tupper's, and this bumped the net present value for the gondola, but their opex and level of service numbers were very similar and the net present value numbers for bus service were pretty well bang on.

It was a fascinating assignment and as part of it I traveled to Portland to see the then-new OHSU-Trimet Aerial Tram. SFU Community Trust had talked about the Gondola idea for some time and wanted to do a first pass at actually researching options and modelling levels of service and running a preliminary financial analysis. I was pretty crushed when the CH2MHILL report threw cold water on what looked like a slam-dunk business case for a gondola versus the 145. I also think that the whole thing is a perfect project for a Canada Line-style design-(co)finance-build-operate-maintain P3 concessionaire agreement. The higher capital cost assumption in the CH2MHILL work are worth revisiting, in my opinion, and would benefit from far clearer project definition, technical analysis, and tender competition.
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  #504  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 5:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFUVancouver View Post
If it's of any interest to the forum, I created the preliminary feasibility report for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola. I was hired by SFU Community Trust in '07 and the project ran for about six months. I ran trip demand forecasts, financial analysis of 'status quo' and 'improved bus' service options and then did an alternative technology evaluation that arrived at a bi-cable ropeway system as being optimal for SFU 145-replacement scenario, which benefits from an extraordinarily fortuitous corridor from Production Way-SFU station up the mountain to a location immediately below the SFU Univercity Plaza. It would only cross over half a dozen or so townhouses and otherwise spend the entire corridor over public rights of way and property.

As I dug deeper and ran the numbers (and consulted with the Doppelmayr Garaventa rep for our region) I recall being bowled over by the level of service that was possible and just hour favourably it compared to the 145: a 30 passenger cabin (same off-the-shelf models used by the Peak to Peak gondola at Whistler Blackcomb) departing every 34 seconds during peak periods and scalable to match diurnal peak demand bands. My order of magnitude capital cost estimate was within 5%-10% of the Bryce Tupper Engineering Consultants feasibility report numbers that SFU Community Trust commissioned following my work, and the net present value of the gondola system versus 145 bus service were competitive and saved just under $50 million dollars over the time frame of my analysis. The capex numbers in CH2MHill's business case analysis that Translink commissioned were a fair bit higher than mine and Bryce Tupper's, and this bumped the net present value for the gondola, but their opex and level of service numbers were very similar and the net present value numbers for bus service were pretty well bang on.

It was a fascinating assignment and as part of it I traveled to Portland to see the then-new OHSU-Trimet Aerial Tram. SFU Community Trust had talked about the Gondola idea for some time and wanted to do a first pass at actually researching options and modelling levels of service and running a preliminary financial analysis.
I can't help but think that this project might be more financially viable if coupled with a major redevelopment of the Ioco lands and a connection over Burrard Inlet.

It would replace significantly longer trips, greatly increase the value of the land it connects, provide trips counter-flow to the SFU daily peaks, and distribute the infrastructure costs among a potentially larger pool of riders.

Did you or any of the follow up studies investigate this?
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  #505  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 6:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Alex Mackinnon View Post
I can't help but think that this project might be more financially viable if coupled with a major redevelopment of the Ioco lands and a connection over Burrard Inlet.

It would replace significantly longer trips, greatly increase the value of the land it connects, provide trips counter-flow to the SFU daily peaks, and distribute the infrastructure costs among a potentially larger pool of riders.

Did you or any of the follow up studies investigate this?
I was not involved in any follow-up studies. I considered three possible corridors and one hybrid: (1) 135 replacement from generally Burnaby Mountain Parkway and Inlet Drive intersection up to the townhouse area of the western campus; (2) 145 replacement from Production Way station to essentially the bus loop at the east of campus; (3) from the south campus facilities area to the future Burquitlam station area; and (4) a crazy idea for spanning the whole mountain from future Burquitlam area up to the campus, over it, and then down to the Burnaby Mountain Parkway/Inlet Drive area.

I dismissed the hybrid one pretty quick, and the complexities of traversing significant amounts of housing and the on-mountain termini being far from core academic areas made me drop the other two and focus exclusively on the 145 replacement option, which also had the strongest candidacy for a competitive business case as a direct one-to-one replacement for the entirety of the 145, versus simply adding a transfer and shortening the 135 somewhat.

As for reverse commuting, the modest and growing resident population of UniverCity, who were eligible to purchase a discounted U-Pass-like transit pass, was expected to help provide some down-mountain numbers, not to mention ongoing churn of students and staff arriving and leaving at different times of day. Plus, there was hope that there would be an uptick in recreational users, particularly mountain bikers, and even a notional idea of a Grouse Grind-like destination trail system.
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  #506  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 7:03 PM
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It would only cross over half a dozen or so townhouses and otherwise spend the entire corridor over public rights of way and property.
How would they of dealt with these townhouses?
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  #507  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 7:09 PM
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How would they of dealt with these townhouses?
That was a big "TBD" for me.
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  #508  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 8:28 PM
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That was a big "TBD" for me.
From an engineering and legal POV, nothing. When you own a piece of property, you own the physical land, not the mineral or air rights to it.

A Gondola would be like a Plane, except a lot quieter (if properly maintained), and likely the only people who would notice noise are those that live directly around the stations.

If worse comes to worse, eminent domain could be used to just demolish any building that would be in the way, be physically a hazard, or just a source of unnecessary complaints. (There are people would enforce a no-fly zone over their property if they had the means.)
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  #509  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 8:33 PM
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There are even systems for dealing with the privacy concerns. Glass that frosts when a current is applied to it. Just obscure the glass when passing over properties, and call it a day.
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  #510  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 9:22 PM
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From an engineering and legal POV, nothing. When you own a piece of property, you own the physical land, not the mineral or air rights to it.
There are air rights above a property.

That's why construction crane operators need to sign agreements to allow for cranes to swing over adjacent properties.
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  #511  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 9:42 PM
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That was a big "TBD" for me.
lol. That could be a very expensive TBD!

I would hate to be the one that would have to expropriate an entire strata complex.
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  #512  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 10:27 PM
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From an engineering and legal POV, nothing. When you own a piece of property, you own the physical land, not the mineral or air rights to it.
That's not really true. Beyond the height necessary for the landowner's use, the air space becomes public domain. For townhouses, there isn't a reasonable use for the air above them so the gondola could legally be built above them, but it's not right to say that landowners have no right to the air above their property. If this were, for example, a farm that required aerial spraying of seeds and pesticides, then it would be trespassing.
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  #513  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2016, 10:35 PM
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lol. That could be a very expensive TBD!

I would hate to be the one that would have to expropriate an entire strata complex.
I wouldn't worry about it. Portland built theirs over a much denser neighbourhood.

People in these town homes need to get that virtually all people don't care about their personal lives and that most people will be looking at the views in the distance instead of their insignificant dwelling.
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  #514  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2017, 7:30 PM
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Moving discussion of the SFU Gondola from the Surrey/South of Fraser Rapid Transit thread:

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Originally Posted by cornholio View Post
Full disclosure. I am positive SFUVancouver did a study on the feasiblity of this project, in which case he has a justified personal motivation to push this project forward.

I did however at one point read allot of the info on it and I makes sense to me. Would be interesting if they could ever incorporate a re development of the co op housing on Burnaby mountain and create a mid station on Forest Grove drive and a more complete community there. Also a gondola down the north side could also be worth exploring. They could route all the Hastings/Port Moody buses to its base, maybe put in a WCE station, parking facilities, and the park there can be improved to attract tourists. Its a even simpler project and probably both could be built.
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It would be great if instead of building the new stadium they out aside the funds for the gondola, the business case is excellent.
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The Burnaby Mountain Gondola is an open-and-shut case for a P3 design-finance-build-operate concessionaire contract. I sincerely hope that comes to fruition.
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  #515  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2017, 7:11 PM
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Full disclosure. I am positive SFUVancouver did a study on the feasiblity of this project, in which case he has a justified personal motivation to push this project forward.
You are correct. I did a study for SFU Community Trust as an undergraduate prior to graduate school. The passenger throughput of Gondola Rapid Transit ("GRT"; a term I believe I coined) was incredible and achievable. Over a 30 year time horizon, Translink would save a considerable amount of money (my recollection was $47M) utilizing GRT versus operating buses, based on a series of assumptions, all while eliminating weather interruptions to service, lowering GHGs, and providing a vastly improved level of service for students and residents.

Following my study, PE Bryce Tupper was hired by SFU Community Trust to independently verify my work, because I was obviously a student and not a licensed engineer, and generally further the case for a Translink study. I was gratified that his work confirmed mine and that our numbers were within about 5-10% with respect to capital cost estimate of the GRT, net present value of the two modes (GRT & bus), and level of service numbers.

It's unfortunate that the Translink CH2MHill study found significantly higher capital costs that shifted the NPV of the GRT, but I defer to their expertise in such cost estimation. Even so, I believe that it was still a net positive in favour of GRT vs buses, but the capital costs (again, my recollection's a bit fuzzy the better part of a decade later) came in around $110M (vs my estimate of $75M) and that pushed the project from a "seriously consider" to a "nice to have one day".

The thing that makes me crazy about the concept being shelved is that I don't think that Translink needs to spend a dime. This project should have been approached by Translink from day one as a P3, with the tender document calling for a design-finance-build-operate-maintain concessionaire agreement. Translink is already going to be paying to operate the 145 indefinitely. Instead of directly paying to run buses with the unknown variables of fuel prices, labour costs, maintenance, and required level of service, it could instead pay a single, predictable, contractually secured monthly fee to the concessionaire to operate the GRT service, pay off its construction, fund its maintenance, and have that all cost less than the buses while delivering a far better and more reliable level of service to passengers.

It is a simple point-to-point service connecting the summit terminus station at the upper bus loop to Production Way-University lower terminus. It connects to the Translink bus and SkyTrain network but is a discrete separate mode, and short of including fare gates and ticket vending machines to process payment and coordinating hours of operation with SkyTrain service, it would not require any interconnection to the various Translink operations. This is tailor made for a P3 and could follow very closely the model of the Canada Line where Translink contracts with the concessionaire for a certain number of hours of service a day with minimum levels of service and a whole host of requirements for safety and customer service. But because the capital cost is so much lower, I don't think that there would even need to be any public funding. It could be 100% private capital.

Incidentally, it still bugs me that the Production Way-University SkyTrain station isn't called "Production Way-SFU". To which other university could the station name be referring? Why is it a generic "University" for SFU when we name UBC-terminus bus routes "UBC" and VCC-Clark station isn't "Community College-Clark"? But I digress.

Transit demand will continue to grow for the 145 as SFU grows and Univercity builds out, plus as the SkyTrain network expands the utility of transit grows and proportionately more trip demand will be created, independent of total number of trips, as transit mode-share among SFU-bound people increases. The capacity of the GRT system could be scaled up over time by adding more cabins, or it could simply be built to deliver its full design capacity from day one and delivery a huge jump in capacity and level of service from the first day of operation.

Bottom line, I'm still pretty confident that the project will one day coming to fruition. It makes too much financial and level of service sense for it to not keep getting reviewed and reconsidered over time. The sooner its built, the better for Translink, students, recreational users of Burnaby Mountain, and the residents of SFU student housing and Univercity.
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Last edited by SFUVancouver; Apr 17, 2017 at 7:25 PM.
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  #516  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2017, 7:37 PM
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SFUVancouver, do you have a copy of your study posted somewhere? Was this some type of a capstone project or grad thesis?
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  #517  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 2:48 AM
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The gondola should've been a no-brainer, financially/operations-wise. But like any political entity, Translink only acts when compelled to fix an intolerable situation, not volunteer to improve when users aren't really screaming for it, especially at the expense of inciting anger from nimbys.
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  #518  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 3:12 AM
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The political problem with the gondola is that people think its a frill, not a utility, and they think it's a frill for a group much of the public thinks to be undeserving of frills.
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  #519  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 7:51 PM
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If the project isnt XX size, its difficult to get a large P3 partner excited. I think thats why the numbers increased in the recent study. They made the project bigger. They want something thats 500 million as opposed to 50 million (numbers are pure hypothetical pulled out of thin air to prove this point)
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  #520  
Old Posted Apr 18, 2017, 8:04 PM
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I wonder if it would be possible to have the grade of SkyTrain increase gradually up the mountain or how long the slope has to be to make it up the mountain.
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