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Old Posted Dec 20, 2009, 5:59 PM
Bureaucromancer Bureaucromancer is offline
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I have to agree that taking it across Burrard inlet really doesn't make sense. As isolated as the area is now, the Evergreen line would put it very close to Skytrain by bus, and wouldn't compromise the SFU proposal in the process.
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Old Posted Dec 21, 2009, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SpongeG View Post
yah maybe deep cove side would be better for that grand idea

It would ruin the serene and beautiful look of Deep Cove.

(can't we get on with hard-core necessities, like building the transit line to UBC first?)
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Old Posted Dec 21, 2009, 3:59 AM
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i think its a dumb idea to go across either direction but if it came down to a choice deep cove would be the better choice over IOCO
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Old Posted Dec 21, 2009, 4:25 AM
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Just let's focus on getting the tram to SFU from the M-Line.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2009, 9:33 PM
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of interest from the Toronto Star:


Is it time for Toronto to finally get cable?
December 30, 2009

Tess Kalinowski

A gondola line over the Don Valley? Artist-designer and native Torontonian Steven Dale says it’s not as far-fetched as one might think.

Could the solution to Toronto's transit woes be hanging by a thread?

It might sound crazy, but one urban planner believes cable cars rather than streetcars are the answer to TTC hassles. And at least one politician believes planner-designer Steven Dale's idea merits further exploration.

The native Torontonian, who divides his time between Cabbagetown and Switzerland, thinks cable would be the better way on some TTC routes, such as the Scarborough RT.

Cable technology, which can be used above street level like a ski lift, or embedded under vehicles as with San Francisco's iconic cable cars, is greener, cheaper and faster than Toronto's streetcars, he argues.

"We've spent so long imagining our transit as what we have right now and there's a whole bunch of other ideas out there," he said. "Light rail, for me, is not the best technology.

"Light rail happens to be stuck between a technology we don't like – buses – and a technology we can't afford – subways."

If Dale is spinning a line, at least one politician is reaching for it.

"It can work in almost any urban fabric," says Glen Murray, the former mayor of Winnipeg, who plans to run as a Liberal in Toronto Centre in the next provincial election.

He is also chief executive of the Canadian Urban Institute in Toronto, which has funded some of Dale's research.

Gondolas, he says, can cross water or 400-series highways without the expense of bridges. They can run less frequently over low-density areas and more often in highly populated districts. They can be beautiful, don't take up much more space than a telephone pole or light standard, require limited land and don't conflict with traffic.

"It is really an interesting, emerging idea that I think has the potential to be the next generation of transit solutions for Canada," Murray said.

Toronto transit is already in the midst of its most costly expansion to date: A $2.4 billion extension of the Spadina subway line into York Region starts construction next year, and ground has been broken on the $950 million Sheppard LRT, the first of a 120-kilometre, seven-line light rail network that is expected to reach deep into the city's suburbs over the next two decades.

Dale says Ryerson University is considering a planning course that would look at how cable technology could be used in the Toronto region.

He blames a couple of common misconceptions for making cable a tough sell in North American cities.

"There's a general perception such systems are slow, which they're not, especially if you compare them with Toronto's streetcar system," Dale said.

"The streetcars we have are built to go 100 km/h but they average 12 km/h on the street," even on dedicated right-of-way routes such as Spadina Ave., he said.

"The other major issues are questions of capacity. People think (cable) can't carry enough. It can carry up to about 6,000 people per hour per direction," Dale said.

"We have no streetcar line in all of Toronto that goes above 2,000, and when they're talking about the Eglinton LRT line, they're only imagining it having about 5,000."

Cable systems don't have engines or motors on the vehicles. Many recharge off batteries when they're in the station, and some modern versions are equipped with solar panelling, Dale said.

"Because they're so lightweight, it takes a lot less energy to move them forward," he said.

TTC officials are skeptical.

"I don't know how fast cable cars go," said transit spokesman Brad Ross. "The TTC, of course, would never run a streetcar at 100 km/h.

"But it's not speed that makes dedicated rights-of-way (be it streetcar or other mode) so much better. It's reliability – they don't operate in mixed traffic and, therefore, are less likely to be delayed due to conditions beyond our control."

The TTC's new streetcars, he points out, will hold twice as many riders, about 260 each.

And Ross said TTC engineers disagree with Dale's assessment of the cost and efficiency of cable. Cable would be less efficient because of friction-related loss in the traction system and a lack of regenerative braking power, he said.

Cable also would be more expensive to build, maintain and operate, he added.

Dale, however, argues an under-car cable system would cost less than half the estimated $1.4 billion to renovate and convert the Scarborough Rapid Transit system to light rail so it matches up with the TTC's new Transit City network.

The SRT's dedicated right-of-way makes it a good starting place because there's no issue with running the cable through mixed traffic.

And Dale takes issue with the TTC's assertion that snow and ice would be a problem in the Toronto winter. In the 1880s, Chicago had a bottom-supported cable car system that ran efficiently year-round, and there was a lot more snow 120 years ago, he said.

"I would love to see a top-supported system (gondolas) run along the Don Valley or Humber Valley," said Dale.

"There's a system in Asia where one of the stations is located in a skyscraper. The technology is incredibly flexible."

With files from Vanessa Lu


Cable cars a feature in cities around the globe

Steven Dale lays out the case for cable on a blog called http://gondolaproject.com/. Among the examples of cable-based transit systems outlined there are:

• The recently approved BART Oakland Airport Connector in California, a $500 million (U.S.) people mover that will run on a 5-kilometre elevated right of way. The project has aroused the ire of some taxpayers, who argued in favour of a $105 million rapid bus transit alternative.

• The Metrocable in Medellin, Colombia, incorporates three aerial cable lines into the transit system of that country's second largest city. The cables were designed to serve low-income commuters in the outlying areas.

• Two cable systems in Caracas, Venezuela, are expected to carry 140,000 people daily when they're both complete in 2011.

• A four-kilometre cable car with seven stations in Perugia, Italy, offers wait times of about a minute between vehicles.

• Constantine Telepherique in Algeria is a series of aerial cable cars, some designed for transit and others for tourism.
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Old Posted Dec 30, 2009, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by officedweller View Post
THe Toronto Airport (CYYZ) people mover is cable-hauled. It feels rough and slow.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 1:11 AM
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Same as the one from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur in Las Vegas and a new one (separate) at City Center.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 1:14 AM
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yah the cable cars in san fran really jerk a lot
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 4:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SpongeG View Post
yah the cable cars in san fran really jerk a lot
Apparently they also take very skilled operators.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 4:21 AM
WarrenC12 WarrenC12 is offline
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Originally Posted by Spork View Post
Apparently they also take very skilled operators.
Keep in mind these are relics from the 19th century, largely in place as a tourist/historical feature.

And the fact that they can do the huge inclines in San Fran.
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Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 7:20 AM
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yes but even gondolas/chair lifts which are like cable can be jerky its just the nature of the mode i guess eh
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Old Posted Jan 4, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Right, and I've never been tossed around in a bus?
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Old Posted Jan 4, 2010, 8:36 PM
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Toronto streetcars were awful for jerking at stops.
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Old Posted Jan 5, 2010, 7:22 PM
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Ski lift cable cars move at 5-7m/s or 18-25km/h. I think they are quite smooth as well. None more smooth than the new Peak to Peak gondola at Whistler.
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Old Posted Jan 5, 2010, 7:35 PM
DKaz DKaz is offline
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Is anyone here afraid of heights? I'm generally uneasy on gondolas. Even on elevators I sometimes have to distract myself somehow from the fact that I'm in one if the elevator seems sketchy. The ones that scare me the most is Madison Centre Office Tower elevators, the building is just less than 10 years old and that elevator sometimes jerks, jumps, gets stuck. I've experienced all three.
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Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 7:07 PM
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From the Now:

Burnaby Mountain gondola plan still alive
SFU Community Trust still keen on the idea, but it's in the very early stages

Christina Myers
Burnaby Now

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CREDIT: Photo contributed/BURNABY NOW
Sky-high idea: This composite picture shows what a gondola system heading up Burnaby Mountain might look like. The image was released last year when the idea was first revealed.

It's been a while since it's made headlines, but that doesn't mean the idea is dead.

The SFU Community Trust is still hoping that - someday - a gondola will take the place of transit buses in getting people up to the top of Burnaby Mountain, and they're quietly working on making it a reality.

"It's very, very preliminary, still just an idea, and we're working to get some traction. (But) speaking on behalf of the Community Trust, it's something we'd really like to see move forward," said Jonathan Tinney.

In February of 2009, Community Trust CEO Gordon Harris revealed that they were seriously looking into the possibility of building a $50-million gondola, running from the Production Way SkyTrain station up to SFU, for students, staff, faculty and residents of the growing UniverCity development.

At the time, he said the project could reduce carbon emissions by 1,870 tonnes per year and cut wait times for buses during the rush hours. The gondola trip - carrying 17 to 24 people per car - would take about six minutes, compared to 14 minutes for a bus.

The idea was inspired by the Peak-2-Peak gondola in Whistler.

"When we spoke with you last (in early 2009), we had just finished up with the feasibility study and talking to some stakeholders," said Tinney.

"We were looking at how to take an idea of ours and move it forward. That's basically what we're still doing.

"In talking to different folks, what we're hearing is definitely supportive - but nothing is committed."

The stakeholders include various government agencies, transit bodies and SFU community groups. Nearly 20,000 people travel to and from Burnaby Mountain daily; that number is expected to nearly double by 2030.

Tinney says anyone wishing to contribute ideas or comments can send them to sfucommunitytrustinfo@univercity.ca.


© Burnaby Now 2010
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Old Posted Jan 22, 2010, 7:32 PM
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Great to here the officials are still moving forward with the idea. I think it would be a fantastic success. Not only for the residents/students but also as a tourist attraction. Especially considering it would only cost the same amount as a transit ticket. Go Gondola Go!
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2010, 3:48 AM
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Looks like Translink is looking at the gondola idea very seriously, they just issued a rfp for a business case study. I’ve cut out the more interesting tidbits and bolded what I found interesting. Looks like another MoT style rfp in both format and wording, seems to be the new norm on capital projects for Translink.

The actual rfp can be found here

And here is a link to the Case study done by SFU last year, a very interesting read for anyone who hasn’t see it. Shows a pretty large savings to Translink over keeping the status quo.

Capacity assessment – Analyses of existing ridership volumes indicate that at current transit demand for the gondola is 2,090 people per hour per direction (pphpd). At a minimum, this demand is expected to increase to 2,680 pphpd and at maximum to 3,760 pphpd. The Contractor shall ensure the design is capable of accommodating the projected demand and provide order of magnitude costs for increased capacity. TransLink will provide ridership estimates to the Contractor.

2.8.4 Gondola alignment – Through preliminary planning and consultation with the Trust a number of alignments were contemplated for Burnaby Mountain. A gondola following a 2.65 km straight alignment from Production Way-University SkyTrain Station to Town & Gown Square adjacent to the existing SFU Transit Exchange was determined as a satisfactory “Case Study Gondola Alignment” to be studied in more detail. The Contractor will provide further analysis regarding a preferred alignment, including reviewing the alternatives included in the preliminary feasibility study.

Base station location - The Case Study bottom terminal location is adjacent Production Way-University Station. Possibilities for a number of bottom terminal locations are feasible; however, a direct connection to the SkyTrain station is desired, as it would maintain a single fare paid zone, provide passenger transfer convenience, and integrate well with the SkyTrain transit system. The Contractor will review the potential base station locations and provide a cost-benefit analysis for the recommended base station location.

2.8.6 Fare collection – In consultation with the TransLink smart card and fare gate team, determine requirements and costs to provide ticket vending machines and faregates at the terminals. Subject to discussion, faregate control of all entering and exiting passengers would be required at the upper terminal. Faregate control at the bottom terminal would not be required to/from SkyTrain but would be required for any other terminal access point(s).

2.8.9 Neighbourhood integration - Concerns over aesthetics may arise with the appearance of the gondola cabins travelling overhead and the possible visual impact of the towers. To mitigate any aesthetic concerns, the gondola cabin and tower colour can be selected based on future community input, and the tower design may be modified to create a pleasing structure. The Contractors will consider the potential costs of designs to mitigate concerns.

2.8.10 Privacy/overlook concerns - Privacy can be subjective and will likely result in varying levels of concern from residents below the gondola alignment. Provide an analysis of potential residential privacy concerns and develop a range of mitigation measures and costs.

2.8.11 Accessibility – TransLink’s policies require that all new transit facilities are fully accessible. Comment on the accessibility of a gondola as compared to existing conditions (bus transit) and how best practices in universally accessible design are applied to the system design.

2.8.12 Cycling – High demand for use of the gondola by commuter and recreational cyclists is anticipated. The Contractor should describe the gondola’s ability to carry bicycles.

2.8.13 Passenger Security - There may be a perception that unstaffed, gondola cabins have a greater security risk, notwithstanding the requirement for full-time staffing of the terminals. The Contractor should comment on security risks, how best to mitigate them, and the associated costs. Additional costs associated with deterring vandalism should also be addressed.

2.8.14 Passenger Comfort – Comment on the need for climate control (heating and ventilation) inside the gondola cabins, feasibility, and the associated costs.

Develop the system, Operating and Maintenance (O&M) costs including but not limited to the following:

2.9.1 Operating hours – The gondola would be expected to operate 20.5 hours/day, 365 days/year. Any required adjustments from this schedule for technical reasons should be detailed.

2.9.2 Operating costs - Five main costs are expected to constitute the operation budget of the gondola: energy, salaries, maintenance, insurance and capital reserve. The Contractor will refine the operating cost estimate.

2.9.3 Maintenance and renewal costs - It is estimated that over a 25-year period a capital reserve of $7M to $10M will be required for the replacement or improvements of major gondola components. The Contractor will confirm and refine these estimates.

2.9.4 Fare and revenue collection – It is expected that the gondola fare collection will be integrated with TransLink’s forthcoming Smart Card and faregate project, which is to be implemented by 2013.

2.9.5 Security – Based on the security and policing costs at other TransLink facilities, the Contractor will provide estimated security costs.

2.9.6 Reliability – The Contractor will assess two aspects of system reliability: Operating reliability relative to bus service (based on weather, traffic delays, breakdowns), looking at historical performance of bus service on Burnaby Mountain and historical performance of a similar gondola system. Maintenance requirements/shutdowns - A gondola on Burnaby Mountain would operate on average 20.5 hours a day to match SkyTrain’s hours of operation. As a result, available times for maintenance operations are minimal. Major maintenance activity would need to be scheduled to minimize effects on customers. The Contractor will estimate the frequency, duration and costs of shutdowns, including replacement bus service costs. Disaster Recovery Plan: Responses to power outages, earthquakes, and other foreseeable events.

2.9.7 Emergency Evacuation – Staffing requirements to support emergency evacuation of the gondola should be identified based on best practices.

2.10.1 Bus integration plan – A gondola would provide a high-capacity alternative to bus transportation, and therefore would be able to replace much of the existing bus service.

2.10.2 Service to/from campus – With the operation of a gondola in this location, it has been determined that the service of two of the four bus routes to Burnaby Mountain can be significantly reduced (#143 and #145), one shortened (#144) and one maintained (#135). The Contractor will provide further analysis and recommendations regarding bus service to and from the SFU campus and updated cost savings.

2.10.3 Local service on campus/UniverCity – Provide recommendations and a cost analysis for the provision of local service on Burnaby Mountain, and how local residents, workers, and students will access the gondola.

2.10.4 Implications for SFU Transit Hub design and other bus facilities – Review the design and specifications of the SFU Transit Hub design and comment on both the spatial and financial implications that the provision of a gondola would have on the proposed transit hub design, including any changes to its functional requirements.

2.10.5 Cost/benefit – Develop a thorough cost/benefit analysis of a gondola versus continued bus transit service to Burnaby Mountain, using a multiple account evaluation. The analysis should be consistent with the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Transit Business Case Template.

2.10.6 External benefits – The Contractor should estimate external benefits to SFU and the Trust, if any, in the form of development value, avoided parking, etc.

2.10.7 Environmental analysis (emissions) – Provide a cost-benefit analysis of the emissions reductions that will be achieved by replacing diesel bus trips with gondola trips.

2.10.8 The Contractor will develop a life-cycle financial analysis based on the design for indicative costing and present it in context with the alternative of maintaining and expanding bus service.

2.10.9 The financial analysis should include a range of sensitivities to:

Discount rates – 6% and 10%
Consumer Price Index
Diesel fuel and electricity prices
High and low ridership growth

3.2 The deadline for the submission of the business case to Public-Private Partnerships Canada is March 31, 2011. All work must be completed by this deadline. The contract end date is one month later to allow for any follow-up or resubmission contingencies.
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2010, 9:00 AM
Millennium2002 Millennium2002 is offline
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Very cool development, although I highly doubt this will take off completely without some sort of PPP due to the priorities already set out by TransLink and Metro Vancouver for the next few years.

This makes me want to ask as an off-topic question: how should PPPs be financed after their construction? Should revenue come from a surcharge on top of regular fares (which would be made easier btw by a smart-card system) or should it come directly from existing transit revenues?

BTW, I have no bias towards SFU, and in fact I even go there if anybody's wondering. It's just that the funding issues with TransLink are so restrictive towards other developments that I'm almost willing to pay more for an upgrade from the slow crawl that characterizes most students' commutes to campus.
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2010, 10:10 AM
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great news! I'm very hopeful for this project!

Quote of the Decade on SSP: "what happens would it be?" - argon007
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