SFU Gondola – Gordon Price’s take

There’s been some debate regarding the SFU Gondola plan.  Some of the outrage is from residents concerned about effects on their properties.  Some are outraged by the fact that TransLink is even considering other transit projects other than the top-prioritiy Evergreen Line.

I think Gordon Price puts things in good perspective in his letter to the Burnaby Now.

When I first heard about the idea of a gondola to replace that little bit of hell, I was an immediate fan – but skeptical. Would it be cost-effective, practical for students, faculty, staff and the residents of UniverCity – and not an unwarranted intrusion for those who lived below?

If there is a good business case – and if TransLink can mitigate privacy concerns for people who live below the proposed path – then the gondola should be built, and quickly.

If, on the other hand, a business case fails to demonstrate savings in transit users’ time, in taxpayers’ money and in increasingly hazardous carbon dioxide emissions, the project will likely get bumped down the long list of transit priorities – delayed indefinitely or lost forever in the crowded file of fabulous ideas that didn’t quite work out.

Either way, that’s the basis on which the SFU transit gondola should be judged: on its merits.

However, the tram could have a really good potential to save TransLink money in the long run, if it is true that it will help re-allocate buses to other areas.  Even though the Evergreen Line does deserve a top-priority status for transit projects in Metro Vancouver, we shouldn’t tie TransLink’s hands from pursuing other potential transit projects.

Portland Aerial Tram - an example of urban gondolas at work

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