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Letter: Burnaby Mountain gondola isn't about avoiding bad weather

Editor: Re: Burnaby gondola a project in search of a problem , NOW Letters Mr. Wilson touts a number of falsehoods in his letter.
SFU gondola
The concept of an aerial transit link to Burnaby Mountain has been discussed for years, but there have been renewed calls recently given the increased population of students and staff on Burnaby Mountain as well as the fast-growing residential community


Re: Burnaby gondola a project in search of a problem, NOW Letters

Mr. Wilson touts a number of falsehoods in his letter. Although current timing may not be the best, TransLink originally got the go-ahead from the Mayors’ Council for further work on the gondola in July last year, a year after the 2018 feasibility study showed a 1.8 positive benefit-cost ratio

It would be disingenuous at best to describe the need for the gondola as purely due to inclement weather. Instead, as stated in the 2018 feasibility study, “peak-hour travelers report that as many as four full buses pass them ”. 

The “system is beyond it’s capacity”, and electric buses would not mitigate this issue. The gondola would have double the hourly capacity of the buses while providing all-weather reliability. 

It will also be operational in winds up to 100 km/h, and cabins would be removed from the line at night or in dangerous weather conditions.

Routes 1 or 2 for the gondola would terminate at the SFU Town Square and transit exchange, very close to existing and well-used transit facilities for residents and students alike and leaving door-to-door times intact. Route 1’s terminus stations are almost identical to the existing 145 route termini, and TransLink has further asserted that only the existing 145 would be eliminated, leaving all other routes the same, so no rerouting would occur.

There is a demonstrated and well-studied need for better transportation for the more than 30,000 students, staff, and residents at Burnaby Mountain, a number that is only expected to grow over the coming years. 

The pandemic won’t last forever, so let’s make sure we proceed with the future in mind, and not present circumstances.

Colin Fowler, co-founder, Build the SFU Gondola