19
Dec

2011

World Class Alpine Resorts Near City = Urban Gondolas?

Post by Gondola Project

Since the Gondola Project’s inception two years ago, reception (for the most part) has been overwhelmingly positive with interest in gondola transit rising dramatically. (Thanks again everyone! Keep the emails/comments coming!).

Peak 2 Peak - Whister. Image by Flickr User roaming-the-planet.

While there’s more work to be done, we’ve managed to successfully help bridge the knowledge gap between the institutions of city/transportation planning and urban gondolas.

If we just look within the Great White North alone, half of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, are in or reported to be in the preliminary stages of planning a gondola system. That’s Vancouver (Burnaby), Calgary and Montreal (Laval).

Rendering of Laval CPT. Image via City of Laval.

In my opinion, this accomplishment is incredible. Two years ago, as compared to today, CPT was a fringe, misunderstood and relatively obscure technology in the North American transit world. Not so much anymore.

But this leads me to ask: What’s the biggest Canadian city that’s currently suffering from the worst congestion but yet to even remotely contemplate CPT?

You guessed it – Toronto.

While lampooning public transit in Hogtown is a favourite pastime amongst Torontonians, I do think they are doing great things in the city (i.e. Spadina Subway Extension, Eglinton Crosstown LRT etc.).

So instead of hating on the city that I love, I asked: Why is cable being implemented in other Canadian cities but not in Toronto?

As I’m currently preparing to go skiing in Whistler this week, I’ve had an epiphany. There’s a crucial factor existent in Vancouver (Burnaby), Calgary and Montreal (Laval) that’s missing in Toronto.

Can you guys think of it?

Can't wait to hit the slopes! Whistler, British Columbia. Image by Flickr User jsigharas.

World-class ski resorts!

Let’s see: Calgary has Lake Louise; Vancouver has Whistler and Montreal has Mont Tremblant.

And Toronto has Blue Moun… nevermind.

I’m sure there’s more to this revelation than alpine facilities, but it’s probably the most straightforward answer. In fact, this surprising fact may not be surprising at all.

Civil Engineers/part-time cable aficionados in the 1980’s, Bondada and Neumann, already found that planners more familiar with cable technology were more likely to rate it higher on a scale of 1 to 10. The question, then, is if mere familiarity with the technology in a ski resort setting is enough to cause planners to consider the technology more seriously. Bondada and Neumann, unfortunately, never addressed that question.

Anyways . . .  happy skiing everyone!



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Comments

  1. I think this is an interesting perspective, Nick. But is it just a convenient-enough excuse?
  2. Its simply hard for planners etc to envision these systems. The reason is simple: they have never personally experienced them. Public transit in terms of bus/rail is easy for decision-makers because most people - within their lifetimes - have had the chance to ride them. So by and large they know how it feels like. However, having more urban CPT systems will undoubtedly help strive towards this endeavour.
  3. Well, Toronto planners might be masochists. How else to explain their unwillingness to follow the trend of other major cities that has proved to be successful and worthwhile?