Originally Posted by cvalkan
We need to get going with "The Wire" (the urban cable car/gondola proposal/idea). I actually had a dream last night in which I travelled west along and above Chavez in a gondola and then switched to a more-or-less southbound line (not parallel to any street) at a height of about 500 to 1000 feet and the views were amazing. That is I suppose one of the problems with the idea. It's on the opposite end of the choice spectrum from buses (only ride if absolutely necessary) -- so much so that people would ride it when they didn't need to go anywhere. As you might guess, reading SSP is one of the last things I do before retiring for the night.
Would everyone just stop
with the damn gondolas. It just doesn't work and is never, ever
going to happen.
This isn't fear of trying something new, there are just too many huge problems, some avoidable with $$ (which we don't have) and others just completely
They fall into 3 main categories
1) issues intrinsic to the mode
2) the US regulatory and litigation environment
a) Gondolas just don't work very good as a transportation system, especially one that needs to respond to variable demand. Your capacity at 5 AM is your same capacity at 8 AM is your same capacity at 5 PM is your same capacity at 11 pm (trying to take cars off the wire is almost the same as just running them empty, where do you park them, and you've now introduced an additional safety point of failure).
b) Similar to monorails, it's extremely difficult to extend routes or build them into a system (switching lines/branching is difficult).
c)huge issues with handicapped accessibility and ADA compliance
d) You _have_ to run the whole system up in the air (where it's expensive to build). With rail, you can have parts elevated and parts on the surface, and parts underground, where it most makes sense and for maximum economy.
e) trip time/distance are hugely increased (you have to go up/across/down)
Regulations and lawsuits:
f)The regulations don't exist in the US yet. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you're free to do what you want, it means you have to wait for them to be written.
g) Also the same thing as monorails, in your mind you see this narrow thing in the sky, you don't see the emergency access/exit walkway that has the run the entire length of the thing
. Monorails also need a shield running under the whole thing to catch failing parts, but _maybe_ you'd be able to get away without it.
h) as alluded to above, a system of any scale ends up being more expensive than rail, since you can't run segments along the ground where it makes sense.
i) stations are huge undertakings (elevators, etc.) $$$
j) No one is going to pay for you to build it. The feds won't give you money for it, which is a huge part of current transportation systems.
The fact that no one has ever done one, even in China where lawsuits are absent and financials are easier, should be a pretty big warning sign. Not a guarantee, but very suggestive.