Extreme temperatures close Edmonton’s 100 Street Funicular

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The extreme temperatures in Edmonton lately are too hot for the 100 Street Funicular to handle. It has closed several times because it's not safe to operate when it's 30 C or warmer. Lisa MacGregor reports – Jul 12, 2021

Not too cold and not too hot — the temperature has to be just right for Edmonton’s 100 Street Funicular to stay open.

Extreme weather has closed the attraction several times and there’s no solution in sight to change that.

The $24 million City of Edmonton attraction can’t operate in extreme temperatures. It closed during the heat wave and will stay closed whenever the temperature is 30 C or higher, according to the city.

“To ensure the safety of Edmontonians and to protect the integrity of the mechanical systems in extreme hot weather, the city will close the 100 Street Funicular when daytime temperatures rise above 30 degrees,” the city said in a statement to Global News.

The Funicular’s sealed cab can get very hot, with temperatures expected to reach 50 C inside, according to the city.

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“At this heat, the interior temperature inside the sealed cab can become dangerous for riders. The funicular cab does not have an air handling system and one cannot easily be added,” the city said.

The inclined elevator takes visitors from 100 Street by Hotel Macdonald to the area around the Low Level Bridge.

Ami Farrow had to use the stairs to walk her bike up the River Valley hill next to the Funicular on Monday because it was closed briefly while maintenance fixed another issue.

“It’s fairly annoying. It’s a great structure. I’m glad that it exists but on a day when it’s really hot, it would be really great to be able to take my bike up instead of having to walk in the heat,” Farrow said. “If you’ve already spent $24 million, you might as well make the thing work.”

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For a third time, it was no fun at the Funicular for Edmonton senior Edgar Wierstra.

“I have to take the stairs or go home,” Wierstra said. “I’m getting older. I can’t go up and down stairs too easy, so I thought to go here.

“They should have windows that open. Get some fresh air, especially with COVID,” Wierstra said.

READ MORE: Edmonton funicular wins urban design award for connectivity to river valley

Extreme weather on both sides of the spectrum closes the Funicular. It wasn’t operating during Edmonton’s cold snap in January 2020 either.

Tatiana Yocolly went to visit the attraction on Monday for the first time.

“I saw it on the things to do in Edmonton, and I really want to try it by myself,” Yocolly said.

“I have travelled all the way to just come and enjoy it, and it’s not really working. ”

Eventually, Yocolly did get on to take it up later in the day when it was back up and running.

As a way to mitigate disruption this week, the city said it will keep the Funicular operational in the mornings and close it later in the day when and if temperatures increase.

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The Funicular is part of Edmonton’s River Valley Alliance projects.

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