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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gondolas: Yea or Nay?

Posted by on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM

I mentioned them in the morning news, Paul gushed about them on his Twitter feed, but since everything from high school prom to local transit projects are subject to the same fickle popularity contests, I ask you, Sloggers:

(Bring your own shitty house music.)


Comments (35) RSS

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@27 "A roller coaster to take people from Fremont to the U District?"

As long as it has a dedicated right of way, I will allow it.
Posted by It's 2013 - Where Is My Flying Bus? on February 20, 2013 at 11:20 AM · Report this
Don't knock it. Ropeways (gondolas, ski lifts, etc.) are very low cost, very unobtrusive and VERY energy efficient. And quiet. And above street traffic, which presumably was the appeal of a monorail. Their efficiency and eco-friendly benefits are why they work so well at ski areas for point A to point B transport. Great article worth reading.…
Posted by hifiandrew on February 20, 2013 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 33
@30 The monorail was never getting built. It was a long-con by the real estate & construction rackets. They learned from Forward Thrust that large municipal projects can be easily hijacked into major boondoggles, which led to WPPSS. The voters got rightly scared off of these kinds of projects after that.
The Monorail Project was going to be a lot of overpayment for certain spots of land that magically changed hands just before the plans were finalized. And all of that concrete & steel was never going to be connected. We'd have a lot of "platforms", with the surrounding land values jacked just prior to sales, and then the plug gets pulled.
Didn't we learn a little bit from the "Ramps to Nowhere"?
Posted by Sir Vic on February 20, 2013 at 9:29 AM · Report this
I visited Medellin Colombia a few months ago. They use Gondolas to provide mass transit up the sides of a steep valley to poor people living in a favela. The gondola has been transformational. People that would never visit the favela take the Gondola merely for the view
Posted by Yp17 on February 20, 2013 at 8:26 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 31
I can see an advantage in that to get an underground line from Capitol Hill to Seattle Center you have to go way deep to get under both I-5 and around the new tunnel, and a surface line has to contend both with traffic and the grade on Denny. I don't know if rail could handle that.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 20, 2013 at 7:25 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 30
Fuck all of you. Install TRANSPORTERS on every corner in Seattle. I mean the matter to energy conversion part is's the second part that seems to be tricky.

Seriously, this is a fucking bone-headed idea if I ever heard of one. I think the monorail was the most realistic of the "futuristic" ideas that could have worked.

And to all of you monorail haters...had we done it you could travel from Ballard to Downtown Seattle TODAY in less than 15 minutes. And if memory serves, the West Seattle to Downtown portion would be close to being completed
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on February 20, 2013 at 7:08 AM · Report this
--MC 29
This is what I think also -- what, are we becoming a theme park now? I would like to propose that we scrap the EMP and use the building for a new version of Flight to Mars.
Posted by --MC on February 20, 2013 at 7:02 AM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 28

Fremont and the U District are carnivals already, or so they feel like. Why not complete the package?
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on February 20, 2013 at 4:51 AM · Report this
Really? First monorails, now gondolas? What is it about Seattleites and gimmicky, 1950s-vision-of-the-future transportation systems? What's next? A roller coaster to take people from Fremont to the U District?
Posted by Orv on February 19, 2013 at 11:53 PM · Report this
I am truly surprised at how even the voting is, and that's enough people voting that it suggests that public opinion is fairly split (even with the repeat voters). I thought it would get roundly shot down as a gimmicky, silly waste of very limited government funds. I guess people like it more than I thought.

I myself voted "no" because it sounds a bit too silly and inefficient for what it would cost, but I'd be willing to give the idea a fair hearing. I was fully opposed to the light rail for years and now I'd rather ride it than take the bus, so I've been wrong before.

I'm not sold yet, though.
Posted by floater on February 19, 2013 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Stop screwing around with our transit money already. When can I get a real damn Seattle subway? Something that doesn't get stuck in traffic and can move people quickly across the entire city. Are we capable of this or are the folks in charge just f&cking around?
Posted by SeattleD on February 19, 2013 at 11:16 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 24
Where's my jet pack?
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on February 19, 2013 at 10:38 PM · Report this
So instead of a functional transit system, we'll have a hodgepodge of regular Metro, (not) RapidRide, the SLUT (which they STILL can't figure out how to get to accept Orca cards), the first hill streetcar, LINK, the gondola, and something I'm sure I'm forgetting. This seems like good money after bad.
Posted by doceb on February 19, 2013 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 22
Oh come on. That's like suggesting that the Duck is the solution to our transit problems.

Look, if what you want is a tourist-attracting gimmick, sure, great, I'm all for drawing crowds of stoned tourist hippies to ride the fucking gondolas after stopping by one of our state run marijuana shops to pick up a bag of weed. Lets also make sure there are munchie stands at every entry and exit platform for the thing.

Don't call this a transit solution, however. Because it isn't. And we have a transit problem in Seattle. Every time Boeing threatens to pull up stakes and leave, they cite transit as a concern. I-5 is a mess, the 405 is a fucking nightmare. Why is it that we always find cash to dig a deep bore tunnel or to pull some haire-brained scheme like gondolas, but we can't get decent light-rail transit to every corner of the greater Metropolitan Area? Do you know that they began pushing for a light rail system in Seattle back in 1968? It still doesn't go any further than between Westlake and the airport, and it's only been half a century. They didnt even break ground on it for four decades after Forward Thrust started the conversation on light rail. At this pace, we'll get around to connecting White Center, Shoreline, Redmond and the Tacoma Link to the Central Link sometime in the next millennium.

We are arguably, the most environmentally friendly part of the Union. We are the most progressive metropolitan area in the country, hands down. And yet, we all want to drive cars. A mayor that installs bike lanes is considered 'radical'? Tim Eyman's first [political success? Car-tabs. I mean, come on, how cognitively dissonant can you get?

Your car sucks. Critical Mass is right. Almost all your carbon emissions come from than clunker. Pissed at the XL pipeline? Then why are you buying all that gas? Worried about our government's tendency to declare war on countries that have lots of oil? Then stop creating a market for oil. Hate Dick Cheney? If you stop buying gas, Halliburton loses profits.

And in the face of this, you propose gondolas. Send the tourists to the Puyallup Fair if they want gondolas. Finish the light rail instead.
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on February 19, 2013 at 8:53 PM · Report this
McBomber 21
20, on the bright side, it's one more thing at which you can angrily shake your fist from your car window while you're stuck in traffic.
Posted by McBomber on February 19, 2013 at 8:37 PM · Report this
More idiocy from Seattle's resident transit hobbyists.
Posted by Sugartit on February 19, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
I believe they already tried this in Portland; it went way over budget, and it nobody ride it.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on February 19, 2013 at 7:51 PM · Report this
treacle 18
If we build gondolas before we have an effective transit system in this city, then the tourists have won.
Posted by treacle on February 19, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
Soupytwist 17
More like "YAY!", amiright?
Posted by Soupytwist on February 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM · Report this
The tram over the river from the Upper East Side to Roosevelt Island in New York City was pretty awesome. And it was faster than the subway. But I only really took it on weekends when I was going to the park there; I don't know if people who actually lived or worked on the island used it on a regular basis.
Posted by mellythepirate on February 19, 2013 at 7:14 PM · Report this
Anyone else see a floatplane/gondola mishap in our future?
Posted by zonod on February 19, 2013 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 14
Bring back the Sky Ride to the Seattle Center. I believe it's part of the Puyallup fair now.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on February 19, 2013 at 6:39 PM · Report this
emma's bee 13
Speaking again as a Seattle touron, this would blissfully connect me to the neighborhoods I most frequent there. Build it, I say!
Posted by emma's bee on February 19, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
Clara T 12
No. Doesn't snow enough.
Posted by Clara T on February 19, 2013 at 6:00 PM · Report this
fletc3her 11
Can we do the Venice kind? I'm all for taking up a couple of the cross town avenues and putting in canals.
Posted by fletc3her on February 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
Plus, @8, you can string them with low-energy LEDs, and have special ones for holidays (Xmas, VDay, Sounders Games Rave Green).
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM · Report this
Monorail, gondolas, hell, buses on stilts... just quit delaying our public transit by making it fight traffic.
Posted by It's 2013 - Where Is My Flying Bus? on February 19, 2013 at 5:38 PM · Report this
seandr 8
Gondolas in the city == brilliant!

Fun, romantic, beautiful views, great way to draw tourists and move them around, often preferable to schlepping up a hill, and safe for drunks (I would hope?).

They also compliment the Space Needle nicely.
Posted by seandr on February 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
TVDinner 7
I'm still holding out for funiculars.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 19, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 6
@5 - Feeling extra herpy-derp today are we?
Posted by Pridge Wessea on February 19, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 5
Raise your property taxes Texas style to 2% and have a party. Just stop robbing the country with these moronic budget busters.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on February 19, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 4
@1 I see gondolas as enhancing our core rail lines, to extend their reach at stations. Hop off at Cap Hill, and 7 minutes late you're at Seattle Center.

As far as capacity goes, they're not able to meet real rail, but absolutely kill streetcars or buses. A set of 3 cable gondolas can carry up to around 3,000 people per direction per hour, whereas a maxed-out light rail system can move 6,600. A 10-minute frequency bus line? Around 600.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 19, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
I vote for A, B, and C.

After we kill the Big Oil Tunnel.
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM · Report this
TVDinner 2
Shouldn't it be "monowaaaail?"
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 19, 2013 at 4:50 PM · Report this
eclexia 1
It's all about people/hour.

Aerial tramways are amazingly cheap. It's the fastest, cheapest way to build a transporter second only to Legos. The one in Portland was something like six months from funding to opening.

But, compared to light rail or BRT, it just can't handle the crowds.
Posted by eclexia on February 19, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this

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