West Seattle SkyLink: Gondola advocates plan presentations, start crowdfunding

We reported back in January on West Seattle SkyLink, the rebranded campaign to advocate for gondola transit crossing the Duwamish River instead of light rail. Now the group promoting the idea has scheduled four more community presentations and started a crowdfunding campaign for their ongoing outreach. They’re hoping to persuade Sound Transit to conduct a “detailed engineering study” of the gondola option, which they contend could be built faster and cheaper than light rail. Right now, light rail to West Seattle is scheduled to open in 2031, but as we’ve reported, ST is in the midst of a “realignment” process that could push that date back further. If you’re interested in hearing more about the West Seattle SkyLink concept, here are the dates, times, and registration links for the upcoming presentations:

Monday, April 12 7-8 pm
Friday, April 16 noon-1 pm
Sunday, April 18 5-6 pm
Friday, April 23 noon-1 pm

The links are also in this flyer. The group also presented written comments to the ST Executive Board earlier this month.

76 Replies to "West Seattle SkyLink: Gondola advocates plan presentations, start crowdfunding"

  • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (1:55 pm)

    For it, and I want a sweatshirt with the logo.

    • Up in the air April 11, 2021 (6:41 pm)

      And under the logo will be: “My taxes went to Skylink and all I got was this sweatshirt.”

      • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (8:26 pm)

        Good idea, I suppose they could make that shirt version for folks who might not choose to utilize this service… and still make money for it’s campaign.

  • Bob Lang April 11, 2021 (2:03 pm)

    Hope it works out.  This makes sooooooooooo much more sense.

    • Jason Ketterer April 11, 2021 (7:56 pm)

      This plan is like putting a band-aid on a broken neck. How anyone can be for it is mind blowing.

  • BAS April 11, 2021 (2:55 pm)

    I’m not a fan of gondolas – unpleasantly bouncy. I’m curious what the capacity is for gondola versus light rail. That’s a significant factor. Also, there should be a note in the story that this is almost legally impossible. A change of that magnitude would probably violate state statute. ST cannot deviate too much from the ballot measure. In the less than 0.01% chance they moved forward with gondola plan instead of light rail, I’m certain transit advocacy groups would challenge this in court. Millions wasted on litigation. It would be interesting to know what legal avenues they think are available to make this gondola plan happen. 

    • WSB April 11, 2021 (3:07 pm)

      Please see the previous coverage, linked inline. Our story in January was fairly detailed, even including a link to why ST dismissed this mode pre-ST3.

  • John April 11, 2021 (3:00 pm)

    No. We need real solutions not more tourism infrastructure. How about dedicated bus lanes and increased frequency on the C line for half the cost if not less! 

    • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (4:25 pm)

      Gondolas would be faster and more convenient AND have tourist/visitor appeal.

      Who wants to take the bus to visit West Seattle or Downtown?  Now who wants to ride a modern gondola system with an amazing view? 👋

      • KM April 11, 2021 (8:52 pm)

        I love taking the bus into downtown because of the great view. I’ll stick with that.

        • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (9:40 pm)

          Great, I’m all for multi options, so folks can choose one that works best for them. Some can keep taking the bus, and some will take the gondola.

          I also appreciate that this kind of system would have a lower carbon and emissions footprint, over light rail or more busses on roads in traffic.

        • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (9:51 pm)

          … Also, for those who bike as part of their commute…

          Might it be nice to take the bike along on a gondola by simply rolling it on, rather than having to hoist it onto the bus bike rack, which is sometimes a pain with other bikes on it?

          Possibly another positive, for some commuters.

      • Drako Swiftclaw April 12, 2021 (12:40 am)

        That wonderful modern gondola that seats only 2, will sway and rock heavily in the winds, can break down more often than the monorail, which stops the entire system.And we cannot forget it can behave the same way as galloping gerdy in a serious wind storm, requiring those often storms to shut it down or risk total collapse that could be deadly.  (The skyride in our own fairgrounds has collapsed twice in my short lifetime and required full cable replacement to work again.)

        • Yes to SkyLink April 12, 2021 (7:41 am)

          Seats only 2? More like 10-15 passengers per cabin. Sway or rock heavily in the wind? No, this would be a strong and sturdy system. Fairground gondola comparison? That is not what this would be like. What you’re suggesting is just not accurate. 

          Please folks, open your mind and check out the info available!

          I am all for light rail expansion where it makes good sense, and was for it’s expansion here. However, I think this gondola idea might be better for West Seattle and is worth strong consideration. 

          I could also envision this type of system eventually working well in other neighborhoods, connecting up with light rail stations… could lead to a new multi modal transportation approach in our city, creating more transport options more quickly, filling in gaps around main light rail lines, with less cost and impacts than additional light rail lines. Something to think about…



        • John April 12, 2021 (8:06 am)

          Drako, it is clear from the proposal that the gondola will not be a two person amusement park type. 

        • vincent April 12, 2021 (11:54 am)

          Is that better or worse than a bridge that goes down for multiple years, or the yet completely unrealized non fantasy proposals for light rail that are 30+ years away. ( and billions over budget before start )

        • Marfaun April 17, 2021 (11:13 am)

          What you describe & the 3S system SkyLink proposes are completely unrelated.  Check out the website: https://www.westseattleskylink.org

      • RossB April 14, 2021 (10:31 am)

        Oh come on. There is no way that a gondola would be faster than a bus, if the bus didn’t encounter congestion. The bus would also directly serve a lot more places. This means that the bulk of the riders (the great majority that don’t live within walking distance of a gondola station) would avoid a transfer. Not only is this more convenient, but it also avoids the big backup on the gondola, as lots of people get off the bus, and line up for the ride. Gondolas have there place, but this isn’t one of them. This also isn’t a good place for light rail. In both cases, you are forcing too many people to transfer, with very little in exchange (the Junction is nice and everything, but it isn’t a major destination, like the UW). This is a classic trunk and branch demand pattern, with almost everyone headed downtown. The best solution for something like that is BRT, as implemented by Brisbane. It is worth reading the section labeled “UPDATE: ” as it is quite analogous to West Seattle.  

    • Martin April 11, 2021 (7:08 pm)

      How do you suggest to add a bus lane to Avalon Way or are you proposing to shut it down to car traffic and dedicate it to bus traffic? Those buses still have to wait for traffic lights or an Amazon delivery truck. A gondola can handle the capacity of 80 long buses per hour on a separate pathway. Operation and maintenance of high frequency buses gets very expensive, fare recovery is usually around 30% whereas urban gondola lines tend to run profitable. 

      • JohnW April 11, 2021 (8:14 pm)

        There are very few if any urban gondola lines, with the noted exception of Medellin, that any such lines exist.  
        The Medellin example is a successful tool in turning around hillsides of the notorious slums and informal settlements.  Roads, where existing, had no design or grid.  Cars were few.

        Around the world there simply are no examples of a similar gondola system, though many are “being studied.”
        I also agree with John that busses offer the fastest most efficient and flexible mode of using our existing limited infrastructure.  Dedicated bus lanes would certainly outperform a cable car system as proposed.  
        Giving the bus commuters an advantage over the single car commuters  would dramatically affect our car reliance and lead to a healthier options.  
        The bus options are lower in cost than any other proposal and could be achieved in months not years or decades.

        If  Martin’s claim is true  that,  “urban gondola lines tend to run profitable,” then why not have it done in the private sector?  
        That is how our monorail was constructed and continues to  operate.

        • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (9:56 pm)

          ‘Around the world there simply are no examples of a similar gondola system,…’

          Hmmm… so by your logic, if something doesn’t already exist, isn’t already tried and true, it shouldn’t be ventured or invented?

          How do you propose we ever progress or improve anything?

          • JohnW April 12, 2021 (7:48 am)

            If something has not been tried and done then the backers of the SkyLink proposal should acknowledge that.  
            They do not.  
            They claim that urban gondolas for mass transit are established and operating around the world.   That is apparently not true, as no examples can be produced. —
            I think electric jet-packs and flying drones can solve our transportation problems.
            After all if it hasn’t been tried…individual air travel is the future.  
            Why tie ourselves to a cable?

          • RossB April 14, 2021 (10:48 am)

            so by your logic, if something doesn’t already exist, isn’t already tried and true, it shouldn’t be ventured or invented? That’s not the argument. The point is if there is something that has only been implemented in a handful of places, then maybe it is only appropriate in a handful of places. This is simply not one of those places. It makes sense when you have a major physical barrier, and strong point to point demand. That is not the case here. A gondola would require the vast majority of users to get off the bus, wait in line, then ride the (relatively slow) gondola. If it ended in SoDo, then riders would take a train (or another bus) to where they are going. Put it this way. Imagine they built both. Imagine there is no congestion for the buses, and the riders know this. The bus goes all the way downtown, as does the gondola. Does anyone get off the bus and catch the gondola? Of course not. It becomes novelty transit, providing a nice ride for a relative handful of people (those really close to the stations).

        • Martin April 12, 2021 (12:49 pm)

          Yes, Edmonton is planning a privately funded one, they found an investors, West Seattle may want to do the same if Sound Transit wants to limit itself to laying rails… Besides Portland and NYC, Ankara, Haifa, Moscow, Brest (France) already have urban gondolas. La Paz recently transported half a million residents on a single day on their gondola network! Mexico City just added a second line to connect their light rail system into the neighborhoods. Russia is building the first international line to China. Paris just awarded a contract for a line with 5 stations, Germany is considering multiple lines as gondolas offers the most affordable way for sustainable high-frequency transit. Vancouver is planning one as they found running buses is about twice as costly than running a gondola up the hill.

        • Marfaun April 17, 2021 (11:21 am)

          Hundreds of gondolas have been built, you’ve probably ridden examples at Crystal Mountain, ski areas and elsewhere, and several urban systems have been built in Latin America (Mexico City, La Paz, Medellin, etc.), in Europe (particularly Germany & Switzerland), and new ones are on their ways in Edmonton, AB and Vancouver, BC, and proposed for Los Angeles and San Francisco.  West Seattle needs a new, grade separated commuter pathway.  ST3 was supposed to provide it, but the hilly, watery terrain & dense development and cost are too challenging.  Gondolas are designed to handle these challenges, deliver 4500-6000 passengers per hour, cost a fraction to build and maintain, and often run at a profit.  Check the website:  https://www.westseattleskylink.org

  • DRC April 11, 2021 (3:17 pm)

                      What is wrong with Stupid and Dumb  it’s my comment at least I  don’t want a sweatshirt with a                   logo

    • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (4:34 pm)

      Yeah, wanting to support a new idea/transportation solution, suggesting something that might help raise money and help to advertise, so dumb.

  • steve April 11, 2021 (3:28 pm)

    Cool. A touristy ride like they have in Spokane. You wait 20 minutes, pay $20, and it takes you a 1/4 mile, and dumps you in the middle of Longview fibre.  What’s not to love about that?  How about one more bus instead?

    • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (4:29 pm)

      Pretty sure you…

      a.) haven’t watched or read anything about this proposal

      b.) do not regularly ride the bus

  • JVP April 11, 2021 (4:12 pm)

    The anti-transit people are giggling with glee now that we’re actively trying to find a way to distract from getting light rail done.  I swear, this town…

    • Will S. April 11, 2021 (5:44 pm)

      Which better epitomizes this town: the phrase “crowdfunded gondola,” or this campaign’s anemic fundraising (after 14 days, only 14 donors giving $944 toward a $3,000 goal)?

  • CarDriver April 11, 2021 (4:35 pm)

    John,Steve,JVP. Little history lesson for you. When the original monorail to WS was being pushed one thing the backers crowed about was the extra revenue that would come from TOURISTS riding it

    • Tanned Body April 12, 2021 (6:59 am)

      No one mentions the fact that the gondolas will not be in the public right of way for quite a bit of their route. I wonder, for example, how the good folks in the Pigeon Point neighborhood will like having gondola cars passing 100 feet over their rooftops every 30 seconds or so?  How will this new system calculate the value of the air rights they will have to negotiate with each of these homeowners? But on the other hand it wii lessen some folks ability to do any nude sunbathing in their formally private back yards I suppose. 

      • AMC April 12, 2021 (8:55 am)

        Probably about the same as the residents of N. Delridge who will have it pass next to their house at similar heights. We are residents there and at worst will lose our home or at best have this in our literal backyard. Rapid transit infrastructure is really difficult to build for geographic areas like Seattle. The Bay Area managed to figure it out but did it so many years ago it was more easily accommodated. The fact that it’s 2021 and we still don’t have this in Seattle is ridiculous.

  • Transit4WS April 11, 2021 (5:31 pm)

    I’m wondering if those who posted negative comments have read the website (FAQs, light rail/gondola comparison page, many articles and videos.)   Commuter gondolas are being used increasingly in metropolitan areas around the world.  I’ve been on them in Europe and South America and thought they were terrific.  Since I’m paying taxes for Sound Transit to build a transit network, I’d like them to look seriously at an idea that might be more suitable, loads cheaper, and won’t contribute to more congestion on roads and bridges (like buses will.)

    • JohnW April 11, 2021 (8:28 pm)

      I am a skeptic and critical of the plan and I have read the info, watched the videos and fact checked their FAQ’s.  
      Please share with us any similar type (Medellin is applies to oranges) anywhere in the world.   (See my comment above.)
      The London example is also a poor comparison when one examines its context. &nbsp
      ;I searched for any example that would compare to the our unique situation.  

      • Marfaun April 17, 2021 (11:26 am)

        Gondola apples-to-apples examples:  Mexico City; proposed for Paris, and for several cities in Germany; moving toward construction in Edmonton, AB and Vancouver, BC.  For fuller details, check out The Gondola Project website.

    • JohnW April 11, 2021 (8:31 pm)

      Yes, I am a skeptic and critical of the plan and I have read the info, watched the videos and fact checked their FAQ’s.  Please share with us any similar type (Medellin is applies to oranges) anywhere in the world.   The London example is also a poor comparison when one examines its context.  I searched for any example that would compare to the our unique situation.  

    • JVP April 11, 2021 (9:18 pm)

      Yep read and watched. Not a serious proposal. Maybe 10 years ago, but they’re waaaay too late. I’ve been to Medellin. How’s that actually working out? Hint, not great. You want to copy something in Columbia, then look at the BRT in Bogota. 

      They say built in 2-4 years. Ha! Permitting and approval for this won’t be much easier than traditional light rail. Nothing is easy or cheap here. 

      And how convenient are the transfers? Few transit destinations are SODO, so you’d need to hop from this to a bus or train.

      Let’s get light rail done. Build for the future. 

      • Vincent April 12, 2021 (12:01 pm)

        light rail is still in fantasy stage, there has been zero land acquisition, and the route proposals are still based on community meetings voting on favorites, with zero consideration for ROW or cost.A gondola is lofty and weird, but its way more tangible than the fairy tale demands of a unfunded magic tunnel under the junction the chamber wants.

        • East Coast Cynic April 12, 2021 (1:02 pm)

          The chamber wants a tunnel, which is close to a fantasy, but the tangible sound transit plan is to build an elevated structure in West Seattle for link.  The gondola will have less capacity than link for future rush hour use, and less capacity will not be a good thing as the population on the peninsula grows.  Such growth will require a mode such as light rail that will be far more adaptable in adding cars and runs to meet increased demands for service.

    • Will S. April 12, 2021 (12:14 pm)

      Yes, I went to the website and read the materials (but didn’t watch the videos) before posting my negative comment. If I thought this proposal were serious or had support beyond a fringe of gondola boosters who don’t care about upending a $54 billion regional transit plan that voters have already approved, I would provide a more detailed criticism. But it seems that my criticism isn’t needed because this proposal (or really, just an idea) is many years too late and has approximately zero chance of success.

  • KT April 11, 2021 (6:05 pm)

    This is a really ridiculous idea.

  • Beepee April 11, 2021 (6:25 pm)

    I really don’t think expanded c line routes would be an answer to the problems, unless Westwood village will become a full fledged transit center.  The air quality around the area has gotten so bad since all the busses started parking along Barton by roxhill park . 

    • Drako Swiftclaw April 12, 2021 (12:49 am)

      The parked hybrid busses that shut down entirely when on layover adding to poor air quality when there’s more cars and other contributing factors going up in that area?  (They already shut down entirely pre hybrid to save on fuel.)A parked bus has ZERO emissions due to the engine being OFF.  You’d be dealing more with those semis delivering goods to the businesses and warehouses and pollution generating factories more.

  • Delta April 11, 2021 (6:27 pm)

    I said it on the last story, and I’ll say it again, how many different forms of public transit do we want to invest in here in Seattle? Cheaper, less intrusive, better crossing times, all awesome. What I don’t want is to have to fight for funds to support a unique system when busses and rail are serving a far larger percentage of the city.Plug into existing infrastructure, or else we’re going to be setting future residents up for the inevitable neglect of this one system, just like the city neglected the bridge.

    • Canton April 11, 2021 (8:49 pm)

      As many forms of transportation as geographly possible…. When my car broke down, I did the bus for couple years. It was not efficient. The route had 1-2 transfers to get to Ballard. An hour and a half commute each way. That got me to fix the car, now 30 minutes each way. I now get 2 extra hours with my family. It costs about 40 bucks a month in gas, and I do the maintenance at part price. Best scenario for my particular situation. Everybody’s daily lives have different  obstacles. So if a gondola will help some, by all means explore it.

      • JohnW April 12, 2021 (7:59 am)

        Half an hour from West Seattle to Ballard driving was a memory of the past even before the shutdown.  No commuter can leave West Seattle and count on being in Ballard in 30 minutes.
        The cost of owning and operating an automobile are far more than most people assume.  
        Gas, oil, maintenance, repairs, depreciation and insurance make the actual cost of operating a vehicle surprising high.

        • Yes to SkyLink April 12, 2021 (10:52 am)

          A water taxi route from WS to Ballard would be awesome.

        • Canton April 12, 2021 (5:45 pm)

          Yes John 30 minutes including drive thru breakfast. Got my employer to cover the tunnel cost, so it’s smooth sailing to technically,  Frelard. 

  • My two cents ... April 11, 2021 (6:29 pm)

    Yard signs, flyers and professional graphics? Seems rather short-sighted in their approach and spending  of their fundraising dollar goal  ($3,000). 

  • Aaron April 11, 2021 (6:56 pm)

    A gondola is as practical, and will serve as many people as a Hyperloop! (i.e. it’s not particularly useful)

    How about we just get on with a light rail stop or three? Fewer distractions and more public transit, please.

  • Bean April 11, 2021 (7:15 pm)

    Why can’t this  be built by private funding?  ST will never support it…ever…but deep pockets could make it happen.  They’d have a major head start on light rail which I wonder will ever actually happen. 

  • Robert J Schmidt April 11, 2021 (7:42 pm)

    Sounds like fun and hope it gets done without taxpayer money. Can’t see spending tax dollars on a carnival ride.

  • Jeff April 11, 2021 (8:03 pm)

    Here’s a thought. Recruit any of the Japanese transportation experts and have them show Seattle how to move people efficiently with unbelievable reliability. 

    • Bill April 12, 2021 (12:42 am)

      Packed like sardines?

      • Foop April 12, 2021 (6:22 am)

        Spoken like someone who’s clearly never ridden the yamamote line but seen sensationalist videos. I loved riding JR, even when packed, people were respectful, and when transit is fast and efficient your time packed in is minimal and you adapt. And that crowded issue is a no problem that has more to do with pop density than the transit system. Trains that arrive every 3 minutes and always run on time? Sign me up.

  • JBZ April 11, 2021 (9:47 pm)

    This is like if I purchased and paid for a Tesla and someone delivered me a Ford Focus. But they MIGHT deliver me the Focus a week earlier than the Tesla (maybe…)

     I voted for and am paying taxes for a train and the idea is to build a gondola???

    Voters approved a train in 2016 that connects to the rest of our regional train network, if they are going to change to a gondola there needs to be another vote to change the scope of ST3.  No wasting of voter-approved train dollars on anything to do with gondolas. 

    • Yes to SkyLink April 11, 2021 (10:15 pm)

      Thanks for bringing up the good point about the difference in cost… gondola at 2 billion less than light rail.

      Would like to hear your argument for why light rail would be better than a gondola system, which could also have multiple lines and connect to light rail in Sodo and downtown, just like light rail.

      • JohnW April 12, 2021 (7:35 am)

        Peak capacity is the most obvious difference between the two proposals.  
        Light rail would have much higher capacity.  

        Another difference is operating in high winds or when high winds are in the forecast.  
        Despite claims that gondola can operate in 70 mph winds, few operators and passengers would feel safe in high winds.  
        High winds regularly shut down gondolas at ski resorts.

      • Ice April 12, 2021 (10:23 am)

        Rail would be better because it would be faster, move more people, and connect to an already existing system. Rail is the gold standard in any city with reasonable transport for good reason. However, there is definitely a good argument for building an urban gondola, but I think it would be better in places which are challenging or impractical for buses and rail. I think an urban gondola could help with South Park and Georgetown’s transit woes. Maybe Alki too. A line along the I-5 ROW as it would connect parts of town that are close yet very separated, there would be very few nimbys to deal with, and it would be a major tourist attraction in that case. The guy who owns the Ferris wheel was discussing building a privately funded urban gondola downtown, but alas those plans seemed to have disappeared into thin air.

        • Martin April 12, 2021 (1:05 pm)

          Have you reviewed Sound Transit’s plans for getting up Genesee? It will require a 150 foot viaduct! I don’t want to be on that viaduct during the next earthquake.Yes, there are many other places in West Seattle where gondolas would be appropriate, too. SkyLink would connect with Sound Transit’s Link network. Yes, it will require a transfer, but so does light rail if you want to go to Bellevue or any other destination not directly served.

          • Yes to SkyLink April 12, 2021 (2:07 pm)

            Yes, a gondola system might withstand earthquakes better than light rail.

            Also, was just thinking SkyLink might be a good option during snowy weather, instead of dealing with the roads. Would be a beautiful ride too.

      • JBZ April 12, 2021 (12:59 pm)

        We have no idea what a gondola would cost or how long it would take, but we do know that the expertise to pull off such a project does not currently exist in the region and there are endless political hurdles to jump which would cost money and time, not to mention the practical differences between a gondola and light rail (there are pros and cons to both). Although I dislike many aspects of ST3, the reality is that Sound Transit has a proven track record of delivering light rail projects. In many ways the gondola reminds me of the ‘immersed tube tunnel’ idea where the advocates claimed benefits that did not hold up to scrutiny. It took 5 years to get WSBLE to the draft EIS stage. Years of engineering work have already been done. You can’t just add a gondola onto a light rail EIS, it’s ridiculous that this is being suggested as a serious option. Is a gondola even eligible for federal transportation dollars? Has anyone in North America ever designed a gondola station for mass transit? Has anyone ever designed an ADA-compliant gondola car or station? Who is going to manufacture that? What are the legal ramifications for having gondola wires and cars going over private property? Has the SkyLink team consulted with a lawyer on these topics?

        ST3 dollars should be spent on ST3. I am irritated at the SkyLink coalition for trying to divert ST3 dollars for a hypothetical project and being deceptive about the many challenges facing the idea. ST3 WSBLE will be light rail, end of story. So maybe SkyLink should consider advocating for an ST4 gondola package. Then the gondola can be properly scoped and vetted prior to being put up to a vote. An Alki to Alaska Junction gondola MIGHT make sense. 

    • StopCuttingDownTrees April 11, 2021 (10:54 pm)

      I LOVE my Ford Focus ❤

    • Bubbasaurus April 11, 2021 (11:27 pm)

      Except that the cabal that is Unsound Transit is already planning on pushing out light rail to West Seattle by at least 5 years because of the revenue drop and it’s not going to go to a vote.  I think it’s worth looking at real alternatives that would connect West Seattle to the SODO light rail station now instead of 2035 or later.

  • Jort April 12, 2021 (1:57 pm)

    The time to talk about fantasy gondola projects was before we voted, by an overwhelming majority, to fund ST3 with a list of dedicated, specific projects. That’s when you go to Sound Transit with alternative proposals. Not after. You can “crowdfund” this campaign all you want, it’s still going to go literally nowhere and you might as well light your money on fire. Internet comments do not equal public policy.

  • Martin April 12, 2021 (2:41 pm)

    Vancouver, Edmonton, Los Angeles… are all working on urban gondolas, the planning is done by SCJ Alliance here in Olympia/Seattle. Yes, we have wasted a lot of time and money on evaluating how to run light rail up the Junction while limiting the destruction. Multiple elevated and tunnel alignments are being evaluated, each with major shortcomings while cost estimates have skyrocketed by 73%. With a gondola, you don’t need to build huge concrete structures or bridges or tunnels and acquire a swath of land and dismantle houses, therefore planning and permitting is much faster. ADA compliance is a concern around the world, not just in Seattle, gondolas which take those into consideration have been built. Sound Transit already evaluated gondola technology in 2014, I’m sure they could project manage a gondola project just as well as they have with light rail. 

  • KM April 12, 2021 (3:28 pm)

    I find this proposal so tone deaf. Gondolas are fine, sure. I’d ride one. Public transportation has to fight so hard for funding, and now a few people with a lot of time on their hand have a new idea, and would like others to pay to market this idea, and Sound Transit, funded by limited revenue sources, to pay for an engineering study, while ST3 is already a few years in. Maybe come back to us if light rail fails, once bus service is restored and once we have have addressed current barriers to the system, such as service equity and accessibility, and pitch adding a new infrastructure sink to the mix. Or help out with some of the transportation woes people have been fighting to solve for years, like complete & accessible sidewalks, transportation deserts, safe streets, signal prioritization for transit, etc.

  • Junction Lady April 12, 2021 (8:16 pm)

    A gondola sounds quaint and more like a tourist attraction than public transportation.  I think about potential crime and I would not want to be on a gondola car with a crazy person for the 15 minute ride.  If it was one family/friend group per car then maybe I would consider but that would defeat the public transportation issue.  No go from long time West Seattleite.

    • Yes to SkyLink April 12, 2021 (11:05 pm)

      Might sound quaint but these would be modern gondola cabins, they’re proposing comfortably fitting 10-15 passengers.

      Portland has an arial tram that can hold 79 people in a cabin, and travels 22mph. It would seem possible to build a solid and sturdy system, that makes sense for West Seattle.

      Regarding your concerns about crime and crazy people, not sure why there would be more concern on this form of public transport vs all others, or anywhere in public. If you ride a bus or light rail regularly, you will probably have encountered some uncomfortable situations.  

      imagine security concerns would be monitored and managed, similarly to busses and light rail. With security cameras and personnel.

      Also, the cabins would pick up frequently, so you could always hang back and wait for one you were more comfortable with.

      • JohnW April 13, 2021 (6:59 am)

        Supporters of the Skyline “gondola frequently cite aerial trams in their claims of existing urban mass transit gondolas,
        Of all of those examples throughout the world, there are no gondola projects that would approach the length, capacity and mass transit intention of the Skyline proposal.
        Here we find reverberations of our tunnel, established technology extended to our region.  
        In our tale of Bertha,  thousands of tunnels had been successfully completed around the world.  
        Not with the Skyline.

        • Martin April 13, 2021 (8:28 pm)

          John, Mexico City already has a similar line which transports 6m people per year. They just opened “CableBus” which is about the same length / stations and it has a 2nd branch line which might be interesting to consider to serve High Point. Paris just awarded the contract for another similar line. La Paz has a whole gondola network which on some days carries half a million riders while Sound Transit expects 27,000 per day. Check out the SkyLink website and FB page…If you favor a light rail tunnel solution, who will pay for it? West Seattle is currently suffering through major disruptions due to the bridge failure, where do you suggest to build the Avalon station without causing similar disruptions?

  • Jort April 13, 2021 (3:29 pm)

    Thanks, everybody, for the good comments and the good old-fashioned dunking on this proposal. 

  • jas April 14, 2021 (10:43 am)

    Wouldn’t a dedicated bus lane between west seattle and sodo accomplish the same thing as a gondola?  

  • SOMEONE April 18, 2021 (10:44 pm)

    A couple years ago I visited Medellin in Colombia and rode the east-west cable car system there, which connects to the central north-south spine of the monorail. The cars seat something like six people, ride smoothly and frequently and have amazing views. It was a pleasant and memorable experience, and many people use the gondolas there to commute to neighborhoods in the very steep hills surrounding the city’s core. 

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