Back in March, Edmonton Project winners Gary and Amber Poliquin were thrilled with the news that the Idea Den panel had selected their innovative "Urban Gondola" proposal over and above the competition. Two months later, and the winning proposal is set to have its day at City Hall, the ups and downs of the ambitious proposal to be debated on the Council floor.
Proposed as a viable means of mass transit which would seamlessly connect Strathcona to downtown with passage over the North Saskatchewan River, the use of a gondola system would cost taxpayers astronomically less than any other form of traditional infrastructure or transit, including BRT, LRT, or subway.
Projected to carry a capacity of between 4000-6000 people per hour in each direction, or the same as 2000 cars or 100 buses, the gondola has been hailed by its proponents as a sustainable alternative to other means of transportation. Critics of the project however, have pointed to the lack-lustre performance of the recently-completed funicular, which has encountered numerous service disruptions since its debut.
While details remain somewhat vague at this point as to the exact route, configuration, and cost of the proposal, early estimates suggest a construction cost of somewhere between $20-$60 million.
Is the future of mass transit in Edmonton just a gondola ride away? Let us know what you think of the Edmonton Project in the comments section below!