26 BIG Ideas
The city's leaders in health, science, politics, food, and culture share their game-changing ideas for San Diego in 2016.
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Let’s build a bay-to-park skyway.
Ron Roberts, San Diego County Supervisor
Most people have heard of Roberts’s passion for adding aerial gondolas to our growing mass transit system, and now, thanks to a vote for an initial engineering study, the bay-to-park skyway is starting to take off. The first line would be a two-mile stretch up Sixth Avenue from the 12th & Imperial trolley station to Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Think of moving not just the occasional cyclist, but all the crowds during December Nights and Comic-Con. “What’s not to love about a project that can fly a busload of people per minute, be powered by a 500-horsepower electric engine, pay for its operations with fares, and be fun for transit riders?” asks Roberts. The county supervisor has been enamored with aerial gondolas ever since he rode the zoo’s Skyfari in 1969, when it opened. In 2006, he was equally impressed when he rode a cable car line in Singapore that passed through the top floor of a high-rise. “Once San Diegans use this, I think they’ll find places to add more, as will other cities now considering skyways.” In fact, a federal or state grant may help fund the $75-million skyway, in the interest of beta testing it for other cities. San Diego seems to be an ideal place for a gondola network, given our unique topography. Where a trolley can’t climb a hill or descend a canyon, the gondola flies right over. Roberts envisions a system that connects our trolley, Coaster, and Sprinter stations, alleviating some of the tourist and commuter traffic into places like Pacific Beach or Sorrento Valley.