ARTICLE. From Deborah Harter-Williams and the TramX Exploration Team on October 27th, 2022.
You can’t say you’re a Coastsider until you’ve been stuck on Highway 92. A little over six miles between I-280 and Half Moon Bay can take 40 minutes on a good day and more than two hours at other times. Accidents frequently shut the road altogether.
But, what if you could fly over the traffic, embraced by fog among the trees, enjoying a view of Crystal Springs Reservoir and then the glistening Pacific instead of the brake lights of the car ahead?
The idea of an aerial wire ropeway – tramway – gondola – or Sky Tram between San Mateo and Half Moon Bay is not new, but maybe this time it’s different.
College of San Mateo business professor Dr. Peter von Bleichert wrote an article proposing a design for such a system, and it got attention nationally and internationally.
Furthering his campaign to get the system built, he wrote an editorial for the San Mateo Daily Journal. Half Moon Bay Mayor Debbie Ruddock saw it and invited him to speak at a city council meeting.
Sky Tram Coastside
A proposed aerial tramway could have multiple configurations, though, at minimum, requires one station in Half Moon Bay and a second on the San Mateo side. Von Bleichert’s proposal included two phases:
Phase 1 has two stations, the first near downtown Half Moon Bay, the second on
the east side at the 92/280 interchange at Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir.
Phase 2 extends the tramway from Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir Station to College
of San Mateo and then on to Caltrain’s Hillsdale Station on El Camino.
How much would it cost to ride?
Fares could reflect a 3-tier system: Coastside residents (and low-income individuals) get a discounted ticket or monthly/annual pass; California residents would pay more, and out-of-state residents, the most.
A feasibility and engineering study would determine the aerial tramways alignment, station, and tower locations.
This is where you come in.
We want to gather information about how this can benefit Coastsiders, those from over-the-hill and anyone who would support finding out more.
TramX – The Exploration Team is coming together and we’d love to have you on board.
with your ideas or
to be put on the mailing list for updates.
Where would the Tram station be in Half Moon Bay?
Several locations have been identified and are being evaluated including some that are already owned by the city. Optimally the terminal would be within walking distance of Main Street and have space for parking and local shuttle pick-up.
How long would it take to actually build this?
In speaking to Garaventas and Doppelmayr (international aerial tram manufacturers), they say about 1-2 years maximum of planning and once started approximately 3 years of construction. These systems by their very nature – remember their footprint is really just the towers and those stations – there’s very little infrastructure unlike widening roads or installing light rail.
*Excerpt from KHMB interview conducted by Jim Henderson with Von Bleichert and, local architect, Ed Love.
Students attending CSM.
Phase 2 extends the route to CSM and it is proposed that students from the Coastside would get a deeply discounted rate to encourage them to commute in this way.
Senior Coastsiders, the Village of the Coastside, the Villages of San Mateo County and Age Friendly Cities have all expressed interest. The tram would be facilitate getting those with reduced mobility to doctor appointments. Kaiser already has a shuttle at the Redwood City train station, imagine if when buying a tram ticket you can say where you want to end up? Kaiser members would already be in their computer when they schedule an appointment and the Tram can advise on when and how many people would be arriving.
Commuters and Breathers.
It is estimated that as many as 20% of Coastsiders commute. Imagine if the number of cars on Highway 92 could be reduced and its effect on air pollution. Businesses. Local businesses would have the opportunity to increase their promotions and welcome more customers. Auxiliary shuttle businesses could be developed as well as other commerce based on tram service.
And yes, tourists.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could welcome tourists but not their cars? Visitors could specify where they want to end up – beach, Main Street, Harbor – and appropriate shuttles can be arranged. Local businesses and attractions could be promoted at the Tram Station and on/in individual gondola cars.
For more about Gondolas visit Coastside Conversations https://bit.ly/3MF75my
New York City • Portland • Tampa • Bolivia • Paris • Oakland • Mexico City