Gondola planned for Burnaby Mountain
By Chris Bryan - Burnaby NewsLeader
Published: February 09, 2009 4:00 PM
Updated: February 09, 2009 5:41 PM
Burnaby Mountain could soon be home to a gondola to serve the rapidly-growing community of UniverCity.
The SFU Community Trust has put forward the estimated $68.9 million project, and is assessing the feasibility of a gondola transit system to improve reliability and travel times to and from Burnaby Mountain, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions currently produced by the fleet of diesel buses that service the area.
The proposed "Burnaby Mountain Gondola Transit Project" would serve SFU students, faculty and staff as well as residents and businesses of UniverCity.
Because a section of the proposed gondola route would travel over the Burnaby Mountain Conservation
Area, community consultation will take place prior to decision to proceed, states a planning document from the community trust.
That said, the unique nature of gondola construction provides "flexibility for minimizing environmental impacts," it states.
Various routes under consideration
Various gondola alignments are being assessed for Burnaby Mountain. Based on initial feasibility studies,
a potential alignment is a 2.65 km route that travels from Production Way SkyTrain Station directly to the Transit Loop on the SFU campus. Travel time on this route would be approximately six minutes, a saving of at least 10 minutes from the current bus route.
One argument being forwarded in its favour is improved reliability.
On approximately 10 days each year, bus service to SFU is either severely hampered or cancelled due to weather conditions, impacting as many as 20,000 rider trips for each day of impacted service.
Loading and unloading of the Burnaby Mountain gondola would be universally accessible due to the very low speeds in the terminal buildings and a level threshold with no step, and gondola cabins would be outfitted with flip seating to accommodate wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.
Preliminary cost estimates peg the project at $68.9 million with an operating cost at $3.14 m.
A review of technology options indicates that a Tricable gondola—similar to the Peak-2-Peak Gondola in Whistler—would provide the best technical solution for the Burnaby Mountain Gondola Transit Project.
With long spans using only five towers, interference with existing infrastructure can be eliminated and disturbance of green space can be minimized.
Stay tuned to www.burnabynewsleader.com
for more details.