Filter By
May 03, 2010
History, Urban Planning & Design

Foresight & The Bloor Street Viaduct

Toronto’s Prince Edward Viaduct (most commonly known as the ‘Bloor Street Viaduct’) is one of my favorite pieces of infrastructure in all of my hometown. This 1918 Art Deco masterpiece was the cornerstone of the city’s plans to connect the growing metropolis with disconnected suburbs across the Don Valley River system. Is it functional? Yes....

Read More

Apr 21, 2010
History, Research Issues, Urban Planning & Design

Urban Gondolas Should Thank The Internet

There is a story of the scholar who, years ago, produced a dissertation that was loudly hailed as the best written and most valuable in a generation. A copy was reverently placed in the library files and the scholar, as an experiment, placed a crisp $20 bill among its pages. Every year he returned to...

Read More

Apr 14, 2010
History, Just For Fun, Light Rail & Streetcars, Oddities, San Francisco Streetcars, Uncategorized, Urban Planning & Design

Zombie Streetcars & Transit Bling

I am decidedly against the City of Toronto’s decision to purchase almost 2 billion one-and-a-quarter billion dollars worth of new streetcars/light rail. And my problem with the decision has absolutely nothing to do with my position on CPT. I recognize that CPT is not a technology for all environs and I recognize that streetcar technology has...

Read More

Mar 30, 2010
Analysis, History

Toys For Tourists

You can classify urban Cable Propelled Transit systems in three ways: The first category are those lines that are integrated into public transit systems. These may be used by tourists, but tourists are not the target market; local weekday commuters are. The Portland Aerial Tram, Roosevelt Island Tram, Medellin Metrocable, Perugia MiniMetro and Caracas Metrocable,...

Read More

Mar 12, 2010
Analysis, Gondola, History, Medellin MetroCable, Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

Medellin/Caracas, Part 2

THE RETURN OF SANTO DOMINGO Santo Domingo is an isolated barrio in the Colombian city of Medellin. Today it is a place of peace, calm and social progress. Twenty years ago, it was a type of living hell that the developed world can only imagine. Crime was rampant, poverty high. Homes and businesses along Andalucia...

Read More

Feb 15, 2010
Analysis, Background, History, Thoughts

History and Future

For most of the 20th century, the cable industry had been a hodge-podge of European, Japanese and American companies each jockeying for their piece of the blossoming ski industry. Some companies specialized in manufacturing, others in operations and maintenance. Privately owned and maintained systems were common. There were dozens of players but few titans. Like...

Read More

Jan 07, 2010
Aerial Trams, Analysis, Gondola, History, Roosevelt Island Tram, Urban Planning & Design


I recently wrote an article for the Architectural League of New York‘s urbanism-themed website Urban Omnibus. The article, titled Off the Road and Into the Skies (click to read it), should provide you with a decent history of New York City’s Roosevelt Island Tram and some analysis of Santiago Calatrava’s botched cable transit proposal for...

Read More

Jan 06, 2010
Analysis, Case Studies, Chicago Cable Cars, History, Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

January 28th, 1882

January 28th, 1882 is one of (if not the) most important dates in Cable Transit history. On that blustery winter day, C.B. Holmes opened the first cable car in Chicago. It was the first time cable was shown to be economical in such a snowy, icy, windy environment. It was also the first known instance...

Read More

Dec 07, 2009
Analysis, Cincinnati, Funiculars, History, Oddities, Uncategorized, Urban Planning & Design

Cincinnati Funiculars

Way back in the day (we’re talking 1872 here) Cincinnati, Ohio was clustered at the base of several small mountains. As the city grew and expanded up the sides of the mountain city officials had a problem: How were people and goods to be moved up and down the mountains? This was, of course, before...

Read More

Nov 12, 2009
Analysis, History, Research Issues, Thoughts

Why Cable-Propelled Transit?

How do you find out about something if you don’t know what to call it? Easy: You don’t. For the longest time, cable had no clear name and that made research efforts next to impossible. As I’ve pointed out, the sheer volume of terms used to describe Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) was preposterous and none conformed...

Read More