(Downtown) Edmonton skyline could soon be enhanced with a cable car. Photo: Malajscy
One of the main areas affected by everyday traffic congestion is the section between Whyte Avenue and downtown Edmonton. The average driving time is currently around 20 minutes and growing longer. A possible solution has been proposed in a report of the Edmonton Transit Advisory Board: an urban cableway. The report describes the cableway as a flexible local transport solution which is fast, reliable, safe and cost-effective.
In addition, this form of transport is also especially well-suited for geographically difficult areas, provid- ing better access to the public transport network for people in locations otherwise difficult to reach. The report further says that a gondola lift would be a perfect solution given the existing desire to increase the transport capacity between the River Valley, downtown Edmonton and Old Strathcona.
Gondola systems have existed for over 100 years, ranking among the world’s safest means of transport. Even if a power failure should occur, they are equipped with diesel engines which ensure safe transport to the next station. And in the unlikely case of a failure of the entire system, there are always trained expert teams on site to bring the passengers to safety.
A gondola system’s ecological footprint is minimal compared to other kinds of infrastructure used for crossing rivers. Moreover, very little space is needed for the cableway’s support pillars. In the case of Edmonton, given the width of the river, construction of any support structure in the body of water itself is not needed. This also helps protect the local fauna.
Gondola systems can also generate power for wireless networks or cooling systems through sun collectors placed on their cabins. For this reason, the Prairie Sky Gondola, a private company from Canada, would like to implement an installation of this kind in Edmonton. The proposed route is three kilometers long, leading from Whyte Ave down to Rossdale and all the way to downtown Edmonton.