Canadian cities consider gondolas as part of transit, tourism plansTravel And Tour World

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Published on : Monday, May 2, 2022

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Residents and visitors could one day be using cable cars to cross rivers in two central Alberta cities.

A 350-metre urban ropeway, also known as a gondola, has been proposed to connect Red Deer’s business district with the Bower Ponds recreation area.

Prairie Sky also wants to string cable cars across the North Saskatchewan River between downtown Edmonton and Whyte Avenue, a popular street with bars, restaurants and stores.

Geotechnical and environmental assessments are being done and public input is being gathered through meetings with Indigenous communities and others interested in the project.

The projects are two of many proposed across North America as a way to move people across waterways or get tourists up mountainsides.

Steven Dale is an urban planner who created The Gondola Project website and has consulted on many proposals. He said interest in urban ropeways has been growing steadily.

Dale said cities have started to realize gondolas can be cheaper than other transit, can be built over less time and can be used to quickly move people from one spot to another.

No one likes to do a commute … so the shorter and more predictable it is, the better.

Toulouse, Grenoble and Paris in France are fully integrating gondolas into their transit networks, Dale said.

There are already gondolas in Western Canada for tourists and skiers, but others are being considered in the Alberta mountain towns of Banff and Canmore.

Developers want to build cable cars that would carry people to the tops of mountains from the townsites.

In Canmore, a proposal for a gondola at Silvertip Resort is before the public until the middle of June to set the terms for an environmental review. The project would connect the resort to the summit of Mount Lady MacDonald.

A gondola to take skiers and hikers from the Banff townsite to the summit of the Mount Norquay ski resort was rejected in 2019 by Parks Canada.

The resort’s owners, however, said that they still hope to build a smaller version from the town to the mountain’s base.

Back in Edmonton, Hansen-Carlson said an urban gondola can be a tourist draw, but it can also be a transportation solution.

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