Weekly Roundup

Post by Steven Dale

A few highlights from around the world of Urban Gondola Transit and Cable Propelled Transit (there’s lots of good stuff this week, so read on):

The Vancouver/Burnaby gondola, inspired by Whistler's Peak 2 Peak (above) is in danger after local residents realize it might infringe upon their privacy. Image by Clarisse Baudot via CBC.

  • Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it: The CBC is reporting that residents under the proposed Vancouver / Burnaby gondola are upset to learn their homes are under the proposed Vancouver / Burnaby gondola line. For whatever reason, planners and proponents chose to ignore the most basic lesson about building urban gondolas in North America: NOMBY – Not Over My Back Yard. That the lesson comes from Portland, Oregon (a city not more than 6 hours drive away) is all the more heartbreaking. This one was so predictable, it’s amazing it took this long to come to fruition.


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  1. If they were to take a quick look at the location the NIMBYers may realize that the impact is minimal at best. If they take a straight line up the mountain, there is around 20 houses which will be impacted. If they add a slight turn to the line, it could go over a 200' swath of trees. http://bit.ly/kpFs6T
  2. I took some time to categorize the responses to the CBC report as I thought it would be an interesting exercise. Over all they were positive. Pro Con Total Cost 8 12 -4 Safety 4 1 3 Comfort 0 0 0 Weather 4 0 4 Monorail 0 1 -1 Privacy 18 6 12 Environment 10 7 3 Reliability 1 0 1 Property Value 2 2 0 Maintenance 5 2 3 Other 11 9 2 ---------------------------------------- Total 63 40 23 The positive an negative votes (thumbs up/down) were quite positive. Pro Con Total 1063 372 691
  3. Sorry about the formatting.
  4. Are we talking about Vancouver/Burnaby or Calgary?
  5. Don't worry about it, and thanks! This is great stuff and very useful. I think we tend to focus on the negatives and when we do, it often overshadows the generally positive reaction.
  6. True, but I think we have to acknowledge the fact that people will be affected by the system. We can argue all we want about the NIMBY's and the importance of the greater good and all that, but those are terrible rhetorical devices. Asking people to sacrifice is just about the worst technique planners and marketers have - and yes, there's a lot of marketing involved in planning, even if planners don't want to admit it. As you rightly point out, putting a slight turn in the line solves the problem. You could also shift the whole line to the Lake City station instead of from Production Way (if I'm recalling correctly) and get the same result. So why didn't project planners and promoters do that? They should've foreseen this and planned for it. The only possible justification for it is that they wanted to get this kind of push-back (for the press) and have the back-up plans all ready for deployment. This way, they can deploy a solution quickly to show people that they're working with the community instead of against them.
  7. Matt the Engineer
    If there really was an easy way around this, they should take it. That said, it has to be tough to find house-free routes in a built-up city. Especially a highly residential* one like Vancouver. Of course, there's nothing technically wrong with building a gondola through residential areas - privacy won't be affected more than, say, building a highrise building there, and your right to privacy when you're outside or standing at an open window just doesn't exist. That said, it's easy for NIMBYs (ok, NOMBYs) to cause problems for projects, and I agree it could be annoying for thses homeowners, so I agree that it's a good idea to avoid this issue if possible. * they have a very high ratio of residents to office workers for a North American city - most North American cities have jobs downtown, people in suburbs (sprawl). Vancouver has done a comparatively good job of avoiding this (though I hear they have some sprawl in the other direction - job sprawl).
  8. You'll actually find most large Canadian cities have maintained a very high number of homes in the downtown core. But yes, the "job sprawl" is becoming a problem. It actually wouldn't be a problem if people always lived near where they work, but the irony now is that a lot of people live downtown but have to commute to the suburbs. The "reverse commute" as they call it, is about as bad in places like Toronto as the "normal commute."
  9. Vancouver is located on a peninsula and bounded to the east by mountains. This cuts it off from the rest of the Lower Mainland so bridges are a way of life. My wife's commute by car from our home in Delta to her East Side office ideally should be 32 minutes (Google Maps). Because she crosses 3 bridges, it can crawl to 1.5 hours. It is approximately the same via transit - though do to connections etc. I have have experienced 2.5 hour trips. The distance? Nineteen km as the crow flies.

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