two quick points.

November 17, 2008

congratulations to gregor robertson and the rest of the vision vancouver/cope/green alliance in the city of vancouver. you have a lot of work to do, both in regards to our well-loved city, and to the civic left. i hope that you will be able to put an end to homelessness in vancouver, as well as to heal the wounds that still resonate between our parties.

(also, for the record, to david eby, i really, really hoped that you would be on council. i’m sorry that was not the case. keep doing what you do, ’cause i know you have the heart that is often lacking in politics.)

congratulations also to peter ladner and the non-partisan association team. while voters did not agree with your plan for the city, myself included, you challenged your opponents with skill and with class.

also, to stephanie ryan with the surrey civic coalition and to matthew naylor, independant candidate in electoral area “a” – and, though it comes a bit late, to dan grice with the federal greens in vancouver – quadra and michelle hassan with the liberal party in new westminster – coquitlam – thank you for making me proud of having a home in the arts undergraduate society.

next, on the transportation front – a perennial topic of mine, surely – here’s a quick idea: while UBC is starting to clamour seriously for its rapid-transit link, SFU got its skytrain station a few years back. well, ok, maybe not their <I>own</I> station – it is, after all, a 15-minute bus ride away – but it’s more than UBC has at the moment.

trouble is that SFU is on a mountain, and that translink is running a huge number of articulated buses on the #145 route. these buses are prone to failures due to the stresses – particularly in inclement weather – that the route places on them. in fact, SFU keeps a collection of sleeping bags on campus in the event that snowfall makes burnaby mountain an effective prison.

so here’s my question: why doesn’t translink replace the #145 route with an aerial tramway? y’know, like the kind on grouse mountain? it would be much faster (perhaps five minutes compared to fifteen minutes), not be subject to shifts in weather, be easily upgradable as service levels increase and have much lower maintainance costs (at least, i would suspect) than the bus fleet. in addition, they would run on hydro power instead of diesel, require lower staffing levels and be a near-silent mode of transport.

to me, this is a no-brainer. translink should look at this immediately…and burnaby mayor derek corrigan should be demanding this with the vigour that he demands everything else.

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5 Responses to “two quick points.”

  1. Milan Says:

    How much do such tramways cost? Maybe a comparable one has been built in another city.

    Quebec City has a kind of tram on a diagonal track for going up and down the escarpment in the old town. As I recall, some European cities have trams suspended from cables.

  2. jocelyn Says:

    the cables involved in gondolas and ski lifts are prohibitively expensive. i heard a lot of ski resorts run at a loss because of it, but i’m not really sure where to find out if that’s true.

    high winds can shut down lifts, too, or blow cable cars right off in extreme conditions. but it probably doesn’t get that bad at burnaby mountain compared to a ski resort. there was a super long gondola in hong kong that fell apart from strong winds.


  3. I was thinking of writing in David Eby’s name, but I decided that I didn’t want to spoil my ballot. Plus, they were counted by machines anyways.

  4. mkushnir Says:

    i know that there are commuter aerial trams in a good number of cities: portland, new york, barcelona and singapore.

    i don’t really know how expensive it would be to build the aerial tramway up burnaby mountain. i know the original budget of portland’s project was $15 million. whether that budget is applicable to burnaby mountain is another story.

    assuming the project is technically feasible – and not too expensive in terms of capital expenditure, i’ve got a feeling that the labour and operational costs of the project would end up being cheaper, more reliable and more ecologically-sensitive than running bus service – a worthwhile consideration, in particular when SFU is experiencing some serious residential expansion.


  5. […] 11, 2009 it seems that my idea for an aerial tramway up burnaby mountain is gaining momentum. i would love to take credit for […]


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