Post by Steven Dale
Here’s an example of how not to implement Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) in an urban area.
The Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) desired a direct connection between their two campuses in Portland, Oregon; one at the bottom of a mountain, another at the top. A CPT system was a logical choice. I won’t discuss what I see as a poor decision regarding the technology chosen (you can find that here), instead I wish to comment upon the route alignment.
Much to the consternation of local residents, the planners, civil engineers and politicians decided that the most logical route alignment for the Tram was overtop of a neighborhood en route to the campus. Planners failed to notice that while such alignments had worked in other locations, those locations did not fly overtop of people’s backyards.
If every there was a justifiable (and practically literal) case of NIMBYism, this was one.
Flying overtop of someone’s backyard is an invasion of someone’s private space and that presumed right to privacy is deeply ingrained in the North American psyche. Before Portland, CPT had typically be installed overtop of low-rise apartment neighborhoods without backyards. The two situations just weren’t equivalents.
Not surprisingly, the public did not react well. One resident went so far as to protest in the following way:
Listen, I’m a strong advocate of CPT, but I am in complete and 100% agreement with the owner of the above house. I also think his tactic is a fantastic example of using Portals of Entry to one’s advantage.
The beauty of CPT is that if aligned properly, it needn’t impose itself upon the urban or natural environment. Designers, engineers, planners and politicians ignored that fact and now they all have a black eye which will live on in perpetuity.
Sometimes HOW? and the WHERE? a technology is used is equally (if not more) important than WHAT? technology is used.
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