Feb 24, 2013


I can tell from the forecasts that the winter rains are still washing over Seattle. I know though in a couple of weeks the cherry trees will start blossoming and the tulips will be out, pointing towards summer. That time of year used to make my whole body ache for Seattle. Not so much now.

For two reasons. It is too early for me. My body is still busy aching from my back problems. Only the idea of getting myself from Umeå to Seattle is impossible. And even thinking six months from now I feel that it’s not doable. I have to stop myself here though: I’ve had those feelings a couple of times before and what do you know, suddenly I find myself crossing the ocean after all!

The other reason is the feeling I now get thinking about Seattle. It’s a choking feeling. It’s a feeling of being stuck. It’s the feeling of not being able to move. It’s the feeling of a big sigh and a deep breath planning on getting from point A to point B. It’s the feeling of traffic in Seattle.

Okay, Umebor, the following few paragraphs will be about Seattle, but way too cool not continue reading, so do, and I am hoping they will be a great inspiration to us!

This is what’s happening: I am applauding the new and uplifting idea of gondolas cheating the intolerable traffic monster on the Seattle ground, transporting people above it’s head! Ha!

Moving above ground isn’t new to Seattle. The Monorail between Seattle Center and Downtown was built for the Worlds Fair 1962 and became an important part of the Seattle silhouette as well as functioning transportation. And it still is!

The main gondola idea is to move people up in the air in East-West directions. Hallelujah! Imagine going from Belltown or Queen Anne to Capitol Hill without even thinking about the Denny Triangle and the on ramps to I5, hallelujah!!! It’s genial thinking!

Seattle has to be ideal for this type of transportation! The city is built on hills declining towards downtown and the waterfront. So, one suggested route is from Capitol Hill to Olympic Sculpture Park, serving that whole area. Others are up Queen Anne Hill, one climbing Yesler Way all way, another spanning the water at the Montlake Cut, or others even reaching West Seattle across the Bay, or Ballard!

This is so cool, it’s beyond cool! And who knows what will come out of it? Hal Griffith, who owns pier 57 and built The Great Wheel (a ferries wheel) there last year is proposing a gondola from Downtown to the Waterfront, making it an easy access. Tom Rasmussen, chairman of the city council’s Transportations Committee is positive, especially since Griffith would put in the money himself. And as The Great Wheal has become a huge success, why wouldn’t Hal Griffith go on succeeding?

Some years ago a proposal about a monorail in Umeå was turned down. The idea was a rail with “taxis”, smaller vehicles making the monorail more flexible. But it turned out not being flexible enough for the city, they expressed concerns about a too fix transportation situation.

Umeå is a mostly flat city, but I could definitely see gondolas working here! Although it’s a small city, about 117 000 inhabitants, we aren’t proud about the traffic situation and the pollution is pretty bad, especially during cold winters. The University campus is located on one of the few heights in town and together with the University Hospital it’s the biggest work place in town. Picture commuting University – Downtown soaring above in a soundless glass bubble! And there is the Umeå River dividing the city, which we are constantly crisscrossing on the bridges. Let’s add the treat doing it in gondolas, watching the running stream under our feet!

And while we are at it, throw in a ferris wheel somewhere at the water: the Waterfront, The Island (Ön) or Bölesholmarna! I tried the brand new Great Wheel in Seattle this summer, and it was an absolutely wonderful, pleasant and beautiful experience, I could do it over and over again! The wheel ads an interesting silhouette to the skyline image, and it works for everyone in the family, what can go wrong? Let’s rise above, it would be nothing but gondolicious!

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