A "Subway in the Sky"

A Regional Mass Transit Alternative

Imagine that one day, rather than driving into town, parking, and then making the return trip  - that you could instead wait a few minutes in a comfortable station, board a gondola (color-coded for your destination), and then get whisked into town or to a local ski resort, park, or school.  Imagine too that instead of fighting congested, icy streets that you had the luxury of reading a paper, using your PC or cell phone, or playing with your kids as you are delivered safely to your destination.

 

The solution advocated in this proposal is to create a region-wide transportation system using 3-cable detachable aerial trams.  The system would, for the most part, use “off-the-shelf” technologies to avoid costly development efforts.  The tram system would use 6-8 passenger gondolas to transport people (and their baggage and sports gear) between the residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, schools, and resorts and recreation facilities. A series of stations would be the hubs of the system to distribute riders to the area’s far flung neighborhoods and recreational areas.

 

Even though the proposed system is an aerial tramway, the concept is based on the idea of a “subway in the sky” - an integrated, regional system of safe, reliable, timely, personal transportation. The aerial tramway system proposed here is one approach to solving the long-term transportation needs of locals and visitors in a way that reduces reliance on automobiles and imported fossil fuel. Unlike createing a surface based light rail or bus system, there are advantages to running the gondola lines above ground. These advantages include:  lower right of way costs, reduced land footprint and impact, less snow removal and maintenance costs, and more point-to-point access in an area that is really a set of towns, ski resorts, and service areas that are laid out as the spokes of a wheel.

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15th Annual Tahoe Summit Points Need for Change

The 15th Annual Tahoe Summit was held at Homewood, CA on August 16, 2001. 

The good news was good, but the bad news was worse.

Good News - TDMA Adopted - The highlight of the summit was the signing and adoption of a document defining the TDMA or Total Daily Maximum Allowance for sediment entering the lake.  A program in one area of South Shore could eliminate up to 78 tons of sediment a year.  One speaker from the EPA pointed out that 75% of the lake's decline in clarity was due to fine sediments entering the lake and only 25% was due to small flora.

 

Bad News - Record Lake Clarity Losses - The 1.5 billion dollars spent on mitigations may have slowed the decline in clarity, but the high runoff from last winter raised the lake by almost 3 feet - while the clarity declined almost 4 feet!  The conclusion seems clear, that while more mitigation is needed - it will never be the full solution - which is to eliminate the cause of the silt - cars and road use.  The projected turnaround date to restore the lake to previous clarity levels using the TDMA as the yardstick is 2060 - that is IF funding is available.  The current political climate and dim conservation project funding prospects were added factors that will compound the lake's preservation.  Another turning point may be the potential dissolution of the TRPA unless certain requirements are met to create a new development friendly plan acceptable to Nevada by 2012. 

 

What most people don't realize is the true value of Lake Tahoe as a pristine alpine lake.  The value of the lake's fresh water in terms of selling it bottled is unimaginable.  The value of the lake in terms of attracting and affecting visitors from all over the world is calcuable - and is billions of dollars every year.  If we let Emerald Bay become emerald green, the value in either sense will have been lost forever.    

Proposed By

The initial proposal is being created by Jeff Sparksworthy, a local advocate for alternative transportation, who foresees the creation of a system that reduce the need to create and maintain more and more roads that service cars that burn ever decreasing reserves of fossil fuel.  

 

The writer has no direct personal gain-based motivation for creating this proposal other than to help start and push forward the discussion about long-range regional transportation needs and ways to meet them. 

Jeff Sparksworthy
11448 Deerfield Dr., Ste. 2, PMB 291
www.tahoetram.com
info@tahoetram.com

Pedestrians, Trains, Planes, Buses, & Automobiles

The main station and terminal stations would tie into existing pedestrian walkways and surface transportation systems (cars, buses, trains and cars).

The main station would serve as the interchange between the various main lines, connector lines and major trunk lines. The routes and gondolas would be color coded allowing riders to easily determine which one to board for any destination.

Each major destination and neighborhood would be served by a series of small shuttle buses to pick up and deliver people and their packages or gear to their homes. These shuttles would normally loop within the various areas to feed the tram.  On windy days the shuttles would go into “long haul mode” to service the stations directly. 

 

Please Take Our Survey

Your Input Counts!

Please take our brief survey to compile lists of potential rider preferences and potential system ridership and ticket revenues.  The data collected will not be associated with your identity or used to make follow up contact. 

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Related Sites

Reader Interest Form

We Should Have Been There By Now

Let's Build the Future Now!

It is vital to start doing something now, using existing, proven technologies that could be retrofitted to use different truly “clean” power sources as they are developed and come on line.  This simple mechanical system could use electricity from any source and does not rely on a series of new filling or charging stations to work.  

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