All Aboard! Get Ready for the Great White Line Skyway

by on June 23, 2015 · 4 comments

in Culture, Environment, Politics, San Diego

skyway white lineBy Doug Porter

Last Friday – June 19 – we learned about a proposal moving forward to add a two-mile long aerial tram from Balboa Park to the Bay. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, apparently suffering from a legacy complex, found $75,000 in spare change under the seat cushions around his office to fund a “let’s do this!” study by consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff.

To nobody’s surprise, the San Diego Association of Governments’ transportation committee loved the idea, directing its staff to start the process of making the “Skyway” operational in five years or so.

Since San Diego’s light rail system has color coded routes, it only makes sense to stick with this scheme. So let’s call this newest leg the “White Line.” Because that’s who it will be serving: white people and assorted tourists looking for a cheap thrill.

White waitRm BusSince spending transportation funding on a tourist attraction is probably not kosher, this idea has been packaged as “green” mass transit, a precursor to getting it included in the regional transportation master plan, making the White Line eligible for federal and state construction grants.

Never mind that it currently takes roughly 90 minutes each way to get from the San Diego Workforce building (adjacent to one of the city’s densest and most racially mixed neighborhoods) to University City (an area with lots of the decent paying jobs politicians are always promising)…

With all the boosterism the local media could muster, we heard on Friday about how we “need” this line.

From NBC7:

“A ‘Bay to Park’ connection has long been identified as a key and desirable linkage between these two iconic features of the San Diego landscape, with the dual objectives of re-establishing Balboa Park’s relationship to downtown and better integrating downtown with the surrounding neighborhoods,” the report reads.

Why, if you believe a comment associated with the Union Tribune story, the Great White (sky)Way will even turn a profit, helping to pay for all those money-losing bus lines the poor brown people ride.

A two-mile “Skyway” from San Diego Bay to Balboa Park would cost up to $75 million and attract nearly 1.1 million riders annually, according to a feasibility report released Friday…

…Funding remains one of the challenges.

Still, the consultants concluded that the new transportation system, strung on cables from towers as tall as a nine-story building, could prove a popular tourist attraction and a useful, congestion-free way to get around town…

And… gee whiz, kids, lookie at all the the other (mostly white) neighborhoods they could grow into this system:

If the bay-park route proves successful, the same model could be used in Hillcrest, Mission Valley, beach communities and Sorrento Valley, the consultants said.

Don’t worry too much about the funding. I’m sure SANDAG will find a way to push back bike lanes beyond 2050 or maybe kill off a future light rail station.

Priorities, people. Priorities.


This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at SDFP.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mjt June 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

What houses will this travel over. It probably will have to stay away from the flight path. Now is the time to rally homeowners who will be impacted.

There is talk of a tram from Manhattan to Staten Island. It would be five miles long.
These jokers all read from the same playbook.
They are building a 60 story Ferris Wheel on Staten Island. Watch out we are next.


Dan Shay June 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm

I think it sounds pretty cool. It would probably pay for itself. I would rather have that skyway than a new tax-payer-funded stadium for the Chargers. But how about making the trolley go to the airport first? If you look around San Diego there are some amazing projects that have been done like 1) coronado bridge 2) mission bay 3) san diego river diversion 4) airport 5) harbor island 6) shelter island 7) OB pier 8) the highway system etc. I also liked the idea of connecting Mission Bay to the Big Bay by canal. And I can’t wait for the river trail to be completed!


Matt DeVol June 24, 2015 at 10:26 pm

No trolley stop at the front door of the airport = Worse city planning decision ever. Even the under-utilized Qualcomm Stadium property has a trolley stop.

How about one big San Diego river park on the old Qualcomm Stadium site, in exchange for, a brand new stadium/convention center located downtown where there is whole lot more entertainment than just football? Win-win proposal.

Increasing property taxes and a fair TOT tax would cover the public’s share of both amenities.

Forget the sky tram.


Tyler June 25, 2015 at 6:04 am

Yawn. Trying to race bait much? Did you think they’d do this in SE SD first?


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