Weekly Roundup: London, The Netherlands, Montreal and… Amazon.com?

Post by Steven Dale

Note: Due to the Easter Break, the Roundup was moved from last Friday to today. We will continue with Roundups on Fridays from here on. 

Emirates Air Line now has cables! Image via The Londonist.

A quick look at some of the highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas, Gondola Transit, and Cable Propelled Transit:

  • Various news outlets (here, here and here for example) are reporting that 75 people were rescued by helicopter from a stalled Aerial Tram in St. Moritz Switzerland. No one was injured. We tend to report on cable accidents here on The Gondola Project because we believe (some might say counterintuitively) that, rather than ignore accidents and rescues, mentioning them highlights the incredible reliability and safety of the technology. If you’d like to learn more about cable’s safety record, see this post. As always (and as we’ve stated before here and here), the degree of media coverage a given technology’s failure causes is inversely related to the chance of that failure’s occurrence.
  • The Ngong Ping 360, a tourist system with a seemingly never-ending list of problems, was re-opened last week following a two-month suspension. Unfortunately, the relaunch was delayed due to a storm which seems a little bit odd to be honest. Nevertheless, Hong Kong’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has released its investigative report and recommended a series of measures prior to allowing the system to re-open. That report can be downloaded here.
  • And lastly: I don’t know what this is, or what it means, but Michael van Baker from Seattle’s The Sun Break posted a vitriolic and profanity-laced diatribe aimed directly at Amazon.com’s founder Jeff Bezos. In the incredibly bizarre column Baker suggests Mr. Bezos explore bringing gondolas to Seattle because “the other ***holes aren’t doing it.” I’ll admit that I have no idea what Baker is talking about but from what I can surmise he: a) doesn’t like Jeff Bezos and; b) doesn’t like the idea of using “cable-f***ing-driven gondolas.” If anyone has any idea (like, really, any idea) what this whole kerfuffle is about, I’d love to know.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.

Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. Matt the Engineer
    HA! Ok, the back story. Amazon has been building like crazy in South Lake Union in Seattle, and has announced a new headquarters there, growing their Seattle footprint by yet another 3 million squre feet. South Lake Union, you may recall, is exactly where my proposed gondola line and another Matt's proposed gondola line run, connecting the Seattle Center to SLU to Capital Hill - over a very traffic-constricted area and directly to a new light rail line. Now add to these facts the recent criticism by our largest newspaper that Amazon, for all of its new wealth, doesn't give much to charity. Add in the detail that they've been criticized for not air conditioning their warehouses in the South, leading to uncomfortable or even dangerous working conditions. And add another level, that Seattle is in Washington State, a state that hates taxes and is cheap as hell - and also happens to control how much tax Seattle is allowed to raise - that's right, even if we vote to raise our own taxes, we're not allowed to (and add to that we have no income tax). The "A**holes" he's talking about is our own government and indirectly our rural neighbors that hate taxes. Then he uses Andrew Carnegie as an example - Mr. Carnegie was a steel barron set on philanthropy, and built the beautiful library a block from my house a century ago. Man was that post filled with snark, history, and confluence. To sum up: 1. Amazon is located where a gondola would make perfect sense. 2. Bezos is rich, and was criticized for being cheap. 3. Carnegie was rich, and built infrastructure because "Assholes" (taxpayers and politicians) were too cheap to. 4. Bezos should build gondolas.
  2. Matt the Engineer
    One more minor point that would be helpful to know - the streetcar that runs through SLU was half paid for by Microsoft co-founder and SLU real estate owner Paul Allen.
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e39EKdamRD4 video of building the Floriade gondolasystem
  4. Hey, I just live in this world, Steven. Here's a non-profanity-laced, sans-Bezos, pro-gondola post that also quotes Matt the Engineer: 6 retweets, 0 likes on Facebook: http://thesunbreak.com/2011/09/21/3-simple-supergenius-ideas-for-seattle/. Add in profanity, Carnegie, and calling out Bezos in public: 9 retweets, 140 likes on FB. Swearing like a stevedore is not my usual rhetorical strategy, but my god, it works like a charm. Have you really never encountered someone using "f***ing" for positive emphasis? For the record, I have nothing against Jeff Bezos personally, and have been agitating for gondolas on the corridor for some years now.
  5. MvB, Glad to get that cleared up. It was honestly just a very bizarre column that was confusing all around - which I admitted to in the column. Matt the Engineer helped as well to clear things up. Steven.

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