The group of businesses and individuals who stand to gain the most financially if a gondola is built in Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) is at it again. Gondola Works has released yet another slick video, along with a series of broadcast ads, billboards and sponsored content, to try to convince Utahns a gondola is the best LCC transportation solution.
Unfortunately, their claims about sustainability, clean energy use and LCC preservation are misleading and confusing. Don’t forget, 80 percent of Utahns are against a gondola in LCC.
Tellingly, there is much that the video, and overall campaign, does NOT say:
1. If preservation is so important, how does building more permanent infrastructure that includes 20+ towers, 10 of which are at least 200 feet tall, help preserve the beauty and wonder of LCC?
2. GW consistently points out how “clean” the gondola will be, but they conveniently do not mention the electricity source that will power it — COAL-fired power from RMP. (Read more about water usage related to coal power from The Salt Lake Tribune here).
3. GW also conveniently omits the fact that you will have to drive your polluting vehicle to a bus terminal, unless you are elite enough to have one of the 1,500 “premium” parking spots at the base station, which will create new traffic issues on Wasatch Blvd as people vie for the coveted spots.
If Gondola Works is so interested in preserving LCC, the first thing they should do is support a capacity/visitor management study to better understand how many visitors LCC can support. Then the best solutions can be implemented, regardless of whether it is their solution or not.
WBA agrees with GW that we do not need to add a third lane to LCC, which would add more concrete, impact LCC creek and the world-class climbing areas. Rather, let’s use solutions that already exist:
1. Parking reservations work! Look at how they worked for Snowbird in 2021 and Alta Ski Lifts this year.
2. An enhanced system of regional natural gas and/or electric buses that run directly to the ski areas. This should include smaller vans that stop at trailheads for dispersed users.
3. Tolling is supposed to be part of the EIS but there has been little to no discussion about it.