Oakland Athletics Unveil 3S Gondola Concept

cut

One of the Bay Area’s two Major League Baseball teams is looking at building the first 3S gondola in the United States.  The $123 million system would transport up to 6,000 passengers per hour and direction between downtown Oakland and a new waterfront ballpark, becoming one of the highest capacity lift systems in the world in 2023.  Thirteen or so 35 passenger cabins would depart approximately every 21 seconds at full speed, yielding a three minute trip from the BART regional train network to the stadium near Jack London Square.  The gondola would be feature just one tower between stations thanks to tricable technology, which can traverse large spans while achieving high throughput.

A’s President Dave Kaval noted at a Saturday press conference, “I think anyone’s who’s sat in traffic in the Bay Area, which is everybody, realizes there’s a need for new, innovative transportation options.”  He continued, “In terms of transportation systems, we feel [a gondola] is a great investment and a great way to open up this part of the city and remove that original barrier of the 880 that cut off the waterfront from downtown Oakland.”  Over the first ten years of operation, the gondola could generate $685 million in economic benefits through construction work, new jobs, increased taxable sales and time savings for commuters according to a study completed by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.  The lift would service an estimated on million riders a year with an operating cost of $4.6 million.

downtown

Oakland is already home to two cable-driven transportation systems, both built by Doppelmayr.  A monocable detachable gondola links new and old sections of the Oakland Zoo and a $484 million ropeway people mover links the Oakland Airport to a nearby BART station.  The Athletics’ 3S would be the first installation of its kind in America, unless the Los Angeles Dodgers beat them to the punch.  “We are in discussion with a few companies and plan to select our partner soon,” says Kaval.

ballpark

Advertisements

News Roundup: Halfway

  • The first D-Line lift in New Zealand won’t be built this summer after all and The Remarkables will place 60 containers of lift parts into storage until government approval comes through.
  • A little ski resort in Labrador has as many new lifts as Whistler Blackcomb this winter – three!
  • A proposed gondola in Oakland would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits, says a new study.
  • Two workers fall to their deaths during a practice evacuation of a new gondola in India.
  • A Swiss aerial tramway will be out of service for months following an avalanche that damaged a support tower.
  • Sleeping Giant experiments operating without a general manager.
  • Waterville Valley explains why some of its lifts are out of service.
  • Recently closed Vermont area Plymouth Notch goes up for sale along with its 1964 Mueller double.
  • The old  high speed quad from Horseshoe, Ontario is still available.
  • Faced with the possibility of losing its operating lease completely, Sunshine Village reluctantly agrees to new guidelines that remove the proposed Goat’s Eye tramway, Bye Bye Bowl expansion and Wildside lift from future consideration.  A second lift in the existing gondola corridor, Goat’s Eye II, Lookout, Hayes Hill and Lower Meadow Park expansions are still possible.
  • Environmental groups and Squaw Alpine are still sparring over the proposed California Express gondola.
  • Resorts across the Pacific Northwest come to the aid of Hurricane Ridge season pass holders, who lost a month of their season due to the government shutdown.
  • Rain delays the debut of Spider Mountain, the seventh lift-based destination for Mountain Capital Partners.

La Paz Debuts Sixth & Seventh Urban Gondolas

DZDfMLgXkAA5QTc
La Paz, Bolivia’s newest gondola rises above traffic as part of the city’s innovative elevated transit system.

Under blue sky at 12,000 feet, the President of Bolivia pressed start at high noon yesterday for Línea Blanca, the newest gondola in the world’s urban ropeway capital.  Surprising thousands gathered for the occasion, President Evo Morales then proceeded to inaugurate the first section of the Sky Blue line, initially slated to open later this year.

The day was momentous as seven color-coded gondola lines now stretch contiguously throughout La Paz and El Alto with no significant gaps between them.  From this weekend, Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) includes approximately 140,000 feet of haul rope, 962 gondola cabins, 168 towers and 26 stations.  The scale is almost unbelievable and there are still four more lines in development!

Built by Doppelmayr like most of Mi Teleférico, the White line services four stations with 131 10-passenger cabins.  It’s capable of transporting 3,000 passengers each hour on a 13 minute trip between the Sky Blue (Celeste) and Orange (Naranja) lines.  The initial section of Celeste was once planned to be part of a four-section White line which was later split to serve additional neighborhoods and prevent any one line from becoming too congested.  Like most of the world’s largest gondola system, I’m pretty sure the White Line is made up of two separate haul rope loops and vault drive systems with cabins that rotate through both.

 

Continue reading

Record Fifth Urban Gondola Opens in La Paz

There’s quite a party in the urban gondola capital of the world tonight as Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car) opens the Bolivian capital’s fifth urban gondola line.  The Línea Naranja (Orange Line) carried its first public passengers just after 6:00 pm and will serve some 30,000 La Paz commuters daily.  Joining the Red, Yellow, Green and Blue lines already in service, the new 10-passenger Doppelmayr system features the world’s first underground gondola station and amenities such as free Wi-Fi, video monitoring and cabin lighting.  As La Paz builds out its eleven-line subway in the sky, the Orange Line forms an impressive continuous gondola route 6.1 miles long with the Blue and Red lines.

Like its predecessors, the newest line is technically two gondolas with four stations, a combined 26 towers and 127 cabins representing a $66 million investment.  One way ride time is 9.5 minutes with a capacity of 3,000 passengers per hour, per direction.  The project uses a mix of UNI-G and tunnel-style terminals built into modern station buildings.

Continue reading

Town of Breckenridge Considers Gondola Transit

img_2609
The Vail Resorts-owned and operated BreckConnect Gondola could be complemented by a second public system, a study funded by the Town of Breckenridge has concluded.

Could a north-south gondola effectively move people through the town of Breckenridge much like Telluride and Mountain Village pioneered twenty years ago?  A team from SE Group presented Phase 1 of its Gondola Transit Study (pages 28-47) to the Breckenridge Town Council on July 11th.  The document looks at siting, capacity and cost for a system that could include up to seven stations with the goal of creating a system which reduces traffic congestion, improves connectivity between Breckenridge Ski Resort and the town and enhances the experience of riding transit.

The study’s first siting principle was to serve core destinations from peripheral parking areas to get people out of cars. Another principle placed stations no more than 2,400 feet apart with the assumption that skiers would not willingly walk more than 1,200 feet in winter.  The shortest and simplest option would begin at the Satellite North Parking (Station 1) and end at the BreckConnect Gondola (Station 5) with three mid-stations.  This option would span 7,530 feet and utilize 84 gondola cabins.  The second option (Stations 1-7) would follow the same route but add two more stations at Riverwalk Center (Station 6) and F-Lot parking (Station 7).  This one would be 10,395 feet with 116 cabins.  The most ambitious alternative, dubbed 1-7b would include the same first five stations but diverge at Gondola Center to the ice rink.  This would stretch 12,630 feet with 140 cabins and seven stations.  All routes contemplate utilizing separate haul rope loops so that only certain stages could be operated during off-peak times and seasons.

breckenridgegondolaroutes

The report notes the first two alternatives could be built easily, as “[they] present few physical barriers; alignments easily pass between existing buildings, transect relatively few private parcels, and appear to have a clear corridor.”  The third alternative with stations 6b and 7b reaches more people but a high cost.  While the 40-foot corridor for Stations 1-7 encompasses land owned by the Town, CDOT, Vail Resorts, the Summit School District and one private landowner, the alignment for stations 6b and 7b adds four more private parcels and significant complexity.

Continue reading

News Roundup: Pulse

  • New owners of Alpine Mountain, PA say they can only afford to keep one chairlift and plan to sell two others.
  • Mi Teleférico’s upcoming Purple and Orange UNI-G stations look super cool.
  • Dismantled skyride at Western Fair in London, Ontario may go to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • Ski Blandford is insolvent and may close.
  • Doppelmayr USA is hiring construction laborers for Beaver CreekCopper and Snowbasin projects; Leitner-Poma of America needs help at Breck, Keystone and Vail.
  • A mile-long gondola will connect Jerusalem’s New and Old cities beginning in 2021. The Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy site attracts 130,000 visitors every week.
  • Poma lands $100 million design-build-operate-maintain contract for phase one of urban gondola system in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • Sunday River’s stricken Spruce triple went to Lost Valley.
  • Stoneham’s Chinook T-Bar is going to Troll, BC.
  • A new double chair will replace Pallavicini soon at Arapahoe Basin.
  • Facing another six-figure landslide repair, Howelsen Hill looks toward new chairlift.

News Roundup: Interalpin

  • Revelstoke homeowners aren’t happy lift development has stalled for almost ten years now.  The resort’s response identifies master plan lifts 1 and 11 as the highest priorities but notes construction of them is subject to market demand.
  • In an interview, new Crystal Mountain owner John Kircher says he wants to build a second gondola to Campbell Basin.
  • NY State Fair gondola continues to be targeted as an example of government waste.
  • Whaleback’s T-Bar project is a go.  The lift came from Plattekill, NY and will be installed by SkyTrans.
  • New Gatlinburg Sky Lift looks to be almost finished.
  • Poma reaches agreement to build new gondolas in Vietnam with the first next-generation Sigma Diamond EVO cabins introduced yesterday at Interalpin.  The new cabins offer more natural light and feature doors that slide rather than opening out.
  • Move over D-Line: the new Leitner Station is here.
  • LST gets another detachable contract.
  • Leitner launches urban gondola in Berlin.
  • Skier visits at Vail Resorts were down 2.8 percent this season but lift ticket revenue increased 7.4 percent.
  • Mi Teleférico opens $1.5 million Operations Control Center with 22 people monitoring 1,300 surveillance cameras on 66 screens and lightning detection system for four gondola lines.
  • Purgatory will add a mid-station to its Needles triple this summer.

News Roundup: Confirmed

  • $150 million Raymond James settlement includes $762,503 for Burke Mountain’s new Leitner-Poma T-Bar.
  • Power outage leads to rope evacuation of Loveland’s newest lift.
  • Steamboat gondola refurbishing begins  (I got to tour Northstar’s gondola this week which received a similar upgrade in 2015.)
  • Orlando Sentinel confirms Walt Disney World is building three Doppelmayr 10-passenger gondolas with six stations.
  • Crystal Mountain breaks away from Boyne Resorts, orders five additional gondola cabins and plans to build new Discovery and Gold Hills lifts in 2018.
  • Eldora is selling Hall and Heron chairs as six-pack construction begins.
  • Preview Oakland’s new $13 million restaurant accessible only by gondola.
  • Sunday River’s new owner commits to replacing Spruce Peak.
  • This week’s cities floating gondolas include Edmonton and Burlington, Vermont.
  • Fatzer delivers four 153-ton track ropes to Germany’s Zugspitze using two trucks linked together for the entire journey.

News Roundup: Investments

  • MND Group’s LST Ropeways subsidiary invested $4.3 million and hired 25 people to develop detachable product that is now available worldwide.
  • Cleveland Planning Commission considers nine-station gondola network.
  • Arizona Republic takes a deep dive into Grand Canyon Escalade cultural and natural resource issues.
  • Big investments are likely coming to Steamboat, Winter Park and the rest of the resorts KSL and Aspen acquired this week.
  • Leitner has a new iPhone-like control system called LeitControl.
  • Are there too many urban gondola ideas?
  • Revelstoke will add 24 cabins to the Revelation Gondola this summer along with 21 chairs to The Stoke to address sometimes epic lift lines.
  • Mechanics in New Zealand work to repair the fire-damaged lift at Christchurch Adventure Park.
  • New York State Fair Gondola funding slammed by politicians and citizens alike.
  • Vail Mountain proposes 1,870 foot fixed-grip lift above the Riva Bahn mid-station on Golden Peak.vailgoldenpeakexpansion

News Roundup: Colorado

announcednewlifts3-15
Likely new lifts for 2017 are pacing 39 percent ahead of last year, when 28 new lifts had been announced on this date.  I’ve identified 39 lift projects for 2017 and if last year’s pattern holds, lift manufacturers will build approximately 57 new ropeways in N. America in 2017, the most since 2004.  We’ll know by about July 1.