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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

SFU gondola project seeks public input

The SFU gondola project is seeking public input throughout September.

TransLink is looking for public feedback on three route options, two from Production Way SkyTrain station, and one from Lake City Way station; as well as feedback on the project generally.

The gondola to SFU would be capable of transporting up to 25,000 students, staff and faculty, as well as residents of UniverCity, daily. 

TransLink says a gondola to SFU will improve travel times for riders as the route sees frequent pass ups, and is often completely shut down during snowy weather conditions.

The gondola cars would arrive every minute during peak periods, and carry more people up the mountain per hour (3,000 vs 1,400) and in about half the time as the current bus system.

The gondola system can also operate in winds up to 100 kilometres per hour and has three cables to help protect against vandalism. 

The three route options for the SFU gondola are:

  1. Production Way-University Station to SFU Bus Exchange
  2. Production Way-University Station to SFU Bus Exchange (with an angle station located east of the bend in Gaglardi Way)
  3. Lake City Way Station (with an angle station located on the eastern side of Centennial Way and Burnaby Mtn. Parkway) to south of South Campus Way
SFU gondola route options
Three route options for the SFU Gondola. Credit: TransLink

Speed: All three routes will travel at the same speed: 27 km/hr.

Distance: Route 1 is 2.7 km, Route 2 is 3.7 km, Route 3 is 3.6 km

SFU gondola proposed alignments

  • Straight alignment: On Route 1, cabins travel directly between the top and bottom terminals.
  • Angle alignment: On Routes 2 and 3, there would be non-boarding, angle stations midway along the route. Gondola systems are restricted to straight lines, but angle stations enable the gondola to redirect from the original path to a new path by “un-gripping” and then “re-gripping” the cable. This process adds additional travel time to the journey.
SFU gondola station rendering
Rendering of the gondola station next to SkyTrain. Credit: TransLink

SkyTrain Connections

Lower gondola terminals will connect to or be located near existing SkyTrain stations.

  • Routes 1 and 2: Production Way-University Station (Expo and Millennium Lines)
  • Route 3: Lake City Way (Millennium Line)

All three routes pass over the residential neighbourhoods of Forest Grove, Rathburn, and Meadowood.

SFU gondola rendering overhead
Route two conceptual rendering: Looking east on Forest Grove Drive towards Gaglardi Way. Credit: TransLink

TransLink says it’s taking several measures to mitigate impacts on residents, including:

  • keeping the gondola 50m above homes, and exploring window tinting options to prevent riders from seeing into homes
  • placing the towers as far away as possible from neighbourhoods
  • minimizing the number of properties the gondola passes over, with compensation for residents where it’s unavoidable

To learn more about the SFU gondola project and complete the survey, click here.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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