Tuesday, April 04, 2006

City Council Tram Vote on April 26th - It's Time to Call It a Loser

My position on the tram has never been about the budget or the way the numbers were screwed-up. The tram is a bad idea because of the risks of what could go wrong. Twice in recent times the Roosevelt Island Tram in New York experienced accidents – both times the cars swung wildly and those inside felt they were going to drop 200 plus feet into the East River. In one a crane actually tore the tram car open. Both times those onboard wondered if it was terrorist related. Why? Because the tram is such a convenient, high-profile target in the sense that it could be brought down with a minimum of effort compared to say the Space Needle. There are too many ways that a criminal act could be perpetrated on this beast. It literally looks like a mechanical duck going by on wires in a shooting gallery. That is why I asked if this aspect of it – security – had been studied. I got no response from Sam Adams and the rest of the team at the Portland State tram meeting.
I am appealing to the Mayor, who has a law enforcement background, to think about the many vulnerabilities we would face by adding this to our security concerns. The tram is a lousy idea. Use the budget problem as an excuse to do the smart thing. Put an end to this loser.
Tram's fate riding on council vote

8 Comments:

At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Sadie said...

None of these were results of terrorism but here is a short list of cable car accidents between 1976 and 1999.

http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9907/01/france.cable.car.04/list.html

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Sadie,
A little of the address was clipped off. If you're reading this please resend.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Torrid said...

If you highlight the URL and move the mouse to the right, you can catch all of the address and paste it into your browser.

Throwing away 20+ million dollars because of the nonexistent threat of terrorism against the tram is a monumentally silly idea, IMO.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

Torrid,
It doesn't have to be terrorism. It could be a kid with a....I don't even want to say all the ways that suspending people on wires high above the city makes no sense to me.
New York has more of a way to react. They have an emergency tram car, etc....I just wanted to know if there has been a study of emergency procedures. The question is apparently no. They are winging it.
If you want to play numbers, what would this cost us if any kind of accident drops the cables on the houses and freeways below?
Thanks for the tip with the URL.

 
At 2:10 PM, Blogger Torrid said...

How is it any different from suspending them in bridges over the water, or on ramps over buildings along the Marquam? How is it any different from allowing THOUSANDS of vehicles to carry passengers on city streets, with all the potential for accidents it carries?

Unless you're speaking of a fundamental design flaw that makes accidents a higher likelihood, you're not going to be able to prevent accidents. And I'd wager that the potential for accidents on the tram is much like that on airplanes--more spectacular in its disaster potential, but less so than normal vehicle traffic on a per passenger or per mile basis.

As for emergency preparedness, I do know that Portland Fire has in fact done some rescue planning for the tram, as well as some practical training for such a situation. The department's technical rescue resources are all housed in Station 1 downtown, and they are among the best in the business. I'm not worried.

 
At 3:42 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

How is it different? Something built of steel girders and something hanging on cables? You can figure that out, Torrid. I know you can. Start by imagining what you would need to blow apart a cable. Not just any cable - one that's already under tons of pressure. Why get graphic about it.
Then there's the value-added nature of a target that's supposed to be our Eifeel Tower as one of the commissioners put it. He's no longer in office, by the way.

 
At 4:36 PM, Blogger Torrid said...

aren't bridges built of steel girders and hanging on cables? What's the difference?

You're positively loco if you think terrorists are evaluating Portland for value targets, my friend. And if I were a terrorist, I'd choose the Port first anyway.

 
At 6:00 PM, Blogger Bill McDonald said...

If we cancel the plan we don't have to worry about it.
I'm not trying to be alarmist or undully fearful, but why risk it? What do we have to gain? An amusement park ride?
I'm not going to revisit what it would take to bring down a bridge versus a tram. Just from your letters I know you're smart enough to figure that out.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home