Alternative to tram could be a scream
Pittsburgh can offer tourists an aerial tramway, or it can offer them nausea, panic and the harrowing sound of their own screams.
I'm opting for the latter.
Robert Randall wants to build a $10 million to $12 million aerial tramway over the Ohio River, linking a lot in Mt. Washington to the North Shore near Heinz Field. His plan resurrects a groundbreaking local idea for which ground has yet to be broken in the six decades since it first was introduced.
City officials long have ignored a concept initially proposed by retailing magnate Edgar Kaufmann in the 1940s. In doing so, they have displayed an alarming lack of political will to build an expensive, unnecessary rival to the Duquesne and Monongahela inclines.
Randall insists the tramway can become a major tourist draw, but his expertise in such matters is suspect. He is the president of Cranberry-based TRACO, a company that makes quality doors and windows, but has not yet, to my knowledge, manufactured its first aerial gondola.
From Alaska to New Hampshire, aerial trams can be found throughout North America.
So if we're trying to offer something unique here in Pittsburgh, we don't need a tram.
We need a Screaming Swing.
We need a gigantic pendulum hurling hysterical passengers out over the Mt. Washington hillside, hundreds of feet above Carson Street.
We need the pendulum swinging people back over Grandview Avenue, stopping just short of smashing them into the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto.
We want tourists?
Then let's offer them a potentially lunch-losing thrill ride with one of the best urban views in the nation they'll be too terrified to open their eyes to actually see.
A ride with a lap restraint to satisfy insurance requirements, but one totally lacking shoulder harnesses.
Those are for sissies.
We need just such a ride, and I happen to know where we can get one: Kennywood Park.
Though having just recently opened for 2005, the West Mifflin amusement park already has begun preparing for the 2006 season. Kennywood plans to add a Screaming Swing.
For now, plans call for the swing to be inside the park, where frankly it might be overlooked by people making a beeline for the Potato Patch or the Phantom's Revenge. This potential problem would be eliminated by moving the 32-seat ride to primarily residential Mt. Washington, where it certainly would stand out.
The only drawback this idea might have is the potential cost of a swing ride.
The killjoys at Kennywood eliminated individual ride tickets at the park this year. So you couldn't put it past them to require people to buy a $28.95 all-day pass just to board the first ride in the park's auxiliary location.
Such greedy tendencies shouldn't stop city officials from seriously exploring the idea of inviting Kennywood to put the ride on the hilltop.
Compared to a tramway that's been discussed since the end of World War II, the Screaming Swing has a much better chance of actually getting off the ground.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Opportunity awaits Boykin
- Pirates showing interest in starting pitcher Masterson
- Coal industry’s decline chokes Central Appalachian towns
- NFL notebook: Jeannette’s Pryor reportedly will sign with Browns
- Despite cross-check, Pens’ Crosby expects contact in front of net
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- CPR helps revive Heinz Field worker with cardiac arrest
- Judge in ex-Massey Energy CEO’s trial pushes jury to reach verdict
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger remains in concussion protocol
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Monessen lawyer disbarred by state disciplinary board