Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tahoe Truckee aerial Tramway?

An aerial tramway in Tahoe, huh? A tram that goes from Truckee to Tahoe City with branches that reach out to Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley. It actually sounds pretty cool. Jeff Sparksworth is considering it a reality. Essentially you'd drive your car to Truckee, park it and jump on the tram. Color coded 6-8 person gondolas would take you and your baggage to your specific destination. The idea of the project would be to eliminate the use of cars on highway 89 along with the traffic and congestion they create. The gondolas would move at 20mph taking you from Truckee to Squaw in 18 minutes and Truckee to Tahoe City in 42 minutes. "I know we’re all in an awful hurry these days and at the extremes these times may seem slow. However, when you factor in bad traffic days, the hassles of parking, and the delays caused by traffic accidents or weather, these times are reasonable." (TahoeTram.com) Hell, it also just sounds like a fun ride.

Advantages of the Tram system:

No traffic, more environmentally sound then automobiles, cool factor - attractive to tourists and maybe olympics, user cost will be cheap compared to rising automobile user costs and skyrocketing oil prices, minimal snow removal vs. road, and you'll be able to read, work, use the internet (all gondolas will have cell phone coverage & wi-fi) or just hang out vs. driving.

Disadvantages of the Tram system:

Basically the tricky part is getting the resources to build the tramway. The estimated cost of the tram would be around $500 million, which is a pretty chunk of change.

This is a very interesting idea that truly does deserve some serious consideration. TahoeTram.com has much more information including: costs & revenue projections, comparisons to existing tram systems, tram station details, routes & service areas, benefits of the aerial system, and system capacites.

"If the system could remove 5000 cars for five years, this would be a carbon value of $1,374,000 and an emissions reduction of 55,879,000 lbs." (from TahoeTram.com)

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