Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2010 Election: Scharf's transit idea

Over the course of the 2010 Mayoral Election campaign, Public Transit in Ottawa will be sitting down with as many mayoral candidates as are available, discussing their platforms and thoughts on transit in this city, and what they hope to achieve during their mandate, if elected mayor.

Rather than propose this possibility as a 'transit alternative', mayoral candidate Jane Scharf has presented it as a possible idea for council to consider--she feels the mayor's role is to "keep the process operating" rather than proposing a pet-project "to ram down everybody’s throat". Her idea? Aerial gondolas, positioned around downtown Ottawa and across the river into Gatineau, to complement existing transit infrastructure.
I like the idea of putting some gondola. Ottawa would be very suitable for that. Like the one they’re proposing for Montreal, to go over to the island; it’s seven miles long, and the stats on it are that it can move 5,000 people in an hour, and it goes roughly 60 miles an hour. Seven miles in seven minutes. It’s electric, there’s no drivers, you can get two-seater or four-seater—just like the ones they use to ski—they’re very cheap to put in, they’re one-third of the cost to install and one-third to operate. And, of course, no direct pollution, because it’s all electricity.
As Scharf mentioned, Montreal had plans to run an aerial gondola (the MAG) for seven miles over the St. Lawrence River, connecting the city's Old Port with Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène. The project seems to have hit a snag with the Old Port Corporation (similar, in a way, to the NCC), but the $100M privately-funded project was expected by some to bring in an extra $120M in tourist revenue per year, and was popular with some residents. According to Scharf, it could be a good fit for Ottawa:
I was thinking we could put them around downtown, and during the day or during rush hour it could help with congestion. But other than that, it’s worth it. And that’s what they’re saying in Montreal, they’re expecting it to be a world-class tourist attraction. So it’d be on the list of something to do when you come to Ottawa, and you could put those across the river, too, very easily.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nefarious plot to give NCC senior management a heart attack!

Evensteven said...

Public transit as tourist attraction...sigh.

Dwight Williams said...

Intriguing idea. Not sure that I'd use it myself, but the idea has enough charm and ambition that I wouldn't object to such things being added to the transit network.

Anonymous said...

Jane is cracking up. We're going to put gondola stations in downtown Ottawa? Where exactly? On the top of buildings?

Dwight Williams said...

One or more of the existing bridges?