Gallery: READER TIP: Air Tram Concept for San Francisco


Spurred by environmental awareness or, more likely, the impending oil shortage, public transportation will soon see an unprecedented growth spurt. If our current infrastructures are too cumbersome to handle this kind of rapid expansion, what will the new technologies look like? Which assumptions do we need to re-evaluate about our means of public transportation? Here’s a new take on an old idea: A hybrid between an elevated train and a suspension footbridge.

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  1. thinksketch June 27, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Hey folks, great to see all the comments. I wanted to let you know that I posted a response on my blog. Come stop by and check it out – thinksketch.wordpress


  2. bepsf June 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Bizarre Photo-Chops…

    I live in SF – Other cities like San Jose may be more progressive regarding what is built than SF – and I could just see the arguments about “what would happen in an earthquake”

    Moreover, San Franciscans love to argue and drag things out. It’s taken 20 years to replace the Eastern Span of the Oakland Bay Bridge, and 10 years have passed since the plans were made to extend Caltrans to the Financial District.

    Not a chance in Hades that SF would ever have something like this built – More likely that we’ll have these types of things installed in the median of I-80 from Oakland to Sacramento, and down US 101 from SF to Los Angeles.

  3. kamakiri June 22, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Um, why has the Milwaukee Museum of Art been moved to SF (top picture)? Is that part of the proposal?

  4. brenna June 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I don’t really understand it either and definitely don’t see it happening in SF. There has been a lot of research done that a vast majority of places that have aboveground trams or trains for public transportation are also low income. Higher income places don’t allow it, so you see more subways.

    While MUNI may be antiquated, it works well enough that I don’t see SF spending that kind of money for an aboveground, floating tram.

    Interesting though…

  5. Scott June 20, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Freeing up the streets has some interesting benefits other than just more rooms for cars. You then have the ability to make larger sidewalks, plazas, bike paths, parks and out door spaces.

  6. danrossini June 20, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Just this week a report came out that put SF at the top of the list in the country in least amount of gas use due to high use of public trans. So SF does not suffer from major problems with public trans, even if they are quite anitqauted (and MUNI going fro underground to streetcar is a totally inefficient method as far as expediency is concerned).

    Also, after the ’89 earthquake, SF citizens voted to tear down the freeway that hung like that drawing around the Embacadero/wharf area. So what incentive – with the above facts in mind – would this idea of floating public trans create? SF is also notoriously conservative when it comes to architecture as well (for years there was a limit on how ornate a building could be, in response to “outrage” at the design of the TransAmerica pyramid in the 70’s).

    So I have to think the chances of the above design getting more than a nod for creativity, is nil. At least in San Francisco.

  7. max June 20, 2008 at 5:30 am

    And this would help how? I don’t understand why making more room on the streets for cars will help alleviate the strains on public transportation. Besides it is long due for San Franciso to come up with some modern public transportation solutions, I believe their muni system dates from the seventies. (Or maybe most of that has to do with the unwillingness of Americans to invest tax money in their public spaces – or at least so it seemed to me when I lived in SF)

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