The Peak Experience



On Tuesday, we’ll run a story about one man’s idea to bring tourists, business and relevance to Fremont.

Doug Tinney, the same guy who came up with Hands Around the Lake to celebrate Fremont’s 50th Birthday, now is pitching an aerial tram ride up Mission Peak.

The scenic tram ride would be the only one of its kind in the Bay Area. The summit station, about a half-mile south of the peak could also include a restaurant and gift shop. To read more about it, click here.

Obviously, the odds against a Mission Peak tram, but it’s better than any of my ideas to bring to people to Fremont. I’ll attach the story to this post when it appears online. Below is Tinney’s suggested tram route.


Matt Artz


  1. I find it worth mentioning that Mr. Tinney is on Bacon’s campaign team.

  2. I find it also worth mentioning that Mr. Tinney has done work for Kathy McDonald and Anu Natarajan as well. So I don’t think you can really pin him down too narrowly, when it comes to political alignments.

    And you can see his work on most street corners around town!

  3. This is obviously a front for Vinnie’s Nimby Peeping Lair.

    I hope Doug Tinney is one of those people who tosses out a multi-paged blog on every hare-brained idea, and this isn’t really a primary passion of his. because if it is, and Bacon is being advised by this guy while running on an anti-developer platform, then he is more full of it than I thought.

  4. I’d like to set the record straight regarding my contributions to the local political campaign scene.

    You will find my name associated with three candidates, Vinnie Bacon, Kathy McDonald and Anu Natarajan. In each case I approached them and offered to donate my graphic design talents because I appreciate the cost they will incur in their runs for office. But more importantly because I enjoy my profession and like to help local people regardless of their political views.

    You won’t find me standing in front of supermarkets handing out literature, nor do I walk the precincts. I don’t do phone banks and I don’t attend fund raisers. Doing campaign graphics is as political as I get.

    I am retired and don’t have deep pockets to contribute money so I donate my services and time. It’s a way of keeping my hand in the trade and keeping me off the street.

    The tram idea is mine and mine alone. No hidden agendas, no behind the scenes money schemes. I don’t own a lick of property in Fremont –or any place else for that matter– other than my own home. I have no ties to real estate developers or land management organizations.

    I am a community activist. I have served as a district coordinator for Fremont Fire Department’s CERT Program, volunteered on Celebrate Fremont for the city’s 50th anniversary celebration, self-published a book about Central Park and Lake Elizabeth, created and donated the logo being used by LEAF, and most recently took it upon myself to help direct the flow of traffic on Central Park’s path by getting the city to approve a graphic that I personally applied.

    As strange as it may seem this is an idea that came out of my own, some will say twisted mind. I decided it was time to put it out there in the court of public opinion. I hope you will read the back story and my reasoning. Since I have nothing financially to gain out of this you already think I’m crackers.

  5. Does anyone actually want to discuss the merits of the idea?

    I mean, it does sound like a good idea. It would be neat, I would want to go, and I could see how something like it could easily become a must see attraction for those visiting the Bay Area.

    The only problem is that would be in South Fremont, and the same group of people that kept (is keeping) the A’s away will keep this from ever getting off the ground. They’ll complain that such a tram would bring people too many out of towners into South Fremont and as shown (A’s), that’s the last thing the people of South Fremont want.

  6. Berkeley and Oakland folks already think Fremont is merely “North Santa Clara County” and not part of the East Bay… let’s not coin “South Fremont” today.

  7. If we believed everything that the Bezerkers and Oaklanders believed we’d be in for a big surprise.

  8. You can drive to the summit of Diablo and walk a lame interpretive trail. Ditto Mt Hamlilton. You’ll get shot dead by albinos if you try to summit Umunhum. Hiking to the top of Rose peak from Del Valle is the trekking equivalent of waterboarding. Mt Tam is spectacular, but does it really matter if something in Marin is really good; it’s north bay and by definition the creme de la creme.

    But, Mission is unique in that it’s such a rewarding challenge, an it is doable even for a person who hasn’t walked a mile on dirt in years. I can’t think of another peak in the bay area that has this balance, and it should be preserved as hiker only access.

  9. My god, I left out bikes- they should always be included in access discussions. Especially in the EPRPD.

  10. It must be very rewarding when one’s thoughts and words are shared and validated by others, isn’t it Marty ?

  11. Marty,
    You are the attack dog for existing City Council. At least you admit to being a Republican, not like some of the City Council, who decided to become a Democrats to get elected.
    Fazlur, You have gone negative, is it because you are insignificant?

  12. Caliguy, you are my pet dog, dutifully following and responding to every word I write. Good boy.

  13. What an insane, awesome, hilarious idea. I love it. Maybe a funicular would be more practical, relatively?

  14. Jon my idea is to be as minimally intrusive as possible. Monocable systems such as Heavenly Valley, would put a whole string of little cars on the hillside and be visually unappealing. Funicular systems would require a fixed rail on the ground, which would require heavy construction equipment and this would definitely be in violation of the Hillside Initiative. I offer additional info on the blog in the section under Concerns.

  15. Jon the idea is to be as minimally intrusive as possible. Monocable systems such as Heavenly Valley, would put a whole string of little cars on the hillside and be visually unappealing. Funicular systems would require a fixed rail on the ground, which would require heavy construction equipment and this would definitely be in violation of the Hillside Initiative. The bicable system would have just two cars. I offer additional info about construction on the blog in the section under Concerns.

  16. I think having a cable car and restaurant would change the whole Sunol to Mission Peak back-packing experience. If a bunch of grubby Boy Scouts showed up for lunch, would they be seated? Would they be able to buy one way tickets to ride down? We’d have to deduct the ride from their hiking mileage.
    Anyhow, I think this is all EBRPD land, and I think a lot of us hard-core tree-huggers would lobby the park district against it.

  17. I like Doug’s idea. Not everyone is willing or able to hike to the summit and see the magnificient view. Let them take the tram up have some lunch and quit whining.

  18. Bruce, yes, it is entirely on EBRPD land, a portion of which is long-term lease from COF. I have thought about one-way tickets and they should be offered. Let me toss this out for your consideration. When the Vargas Plateau is opened it will provide another venue for hikers/backpackers. I’m trying to find a way to share the peak experience with people who cannot make the climb.

  19. my idea is to be as minimally intrusive as possible

    Doug, you use the estimate 800 riders per day to bolster profitability. So, let me say the flip side is that level of traffic would be beyond intrusive. I admire your thoroughness, but there is no way to implement this without totally redefining the mountain.

  20. Marty, I can’t qualify this, but I have been told that up to 4,000 people pass through the gates at the Stanford Ave. trailhead on weekends. I have no numbers from the Ohlone trail. I know the traffic is significant enough that EBRPD is working with COF to mitigate the parking problem on Stanford Ave. If that number is true it puts a lot of people on the trailhead. That is quite intrusive unto itself. I appreciate your input. All comments are gratefully accepted.

  21. More attempts at humor: Truth is, we usually route the Scouts down the trail that ends at Ohlone, maybe they won’t be showing up at the restaurant with their grubby faces if they have to walk around to the south side of the peak to get there. Of course, having a ride down could tip the balance.

    Do the hang-gliders get around to that side of the hill? Maybe they’ll enjoy the challenge, more interesting than the fences that my old room-mate had some close calls with.

    Seriously: this is a nature park, the back-side connects to the closest thing we have to wilderness nearby. You put a restaurant up there, you’ll be pushing the coyotes, mountain lions and other wild-life out, or shooting them when they come wandering around. People getting out into nature is why the park is heavily used already.

  22. I do appreciate everyone’s comments and concerns. Understand this is simply a straw poll that I am conducting. No official connection of any kind. In fact, there seems to be an unusual quiet from segments of our community that I thought would weigh in on the concept. Maybe they are formulating a response. This is the ultimate test of democracy at work. I hope you have the chance to read Matt Artz’ story in today’s hard copy edition of the Argus (Local page). Unfortunately it has not been posted on InsideBayArea or I would provide the link. Matt is checking into that. Right Matt?

  23. Doug – thanks for listening, my critique is not based on hostility to all trams in all places. I’d have a lot more work to do my down-hill skiing without the Heavenly tram, for instance.

  24. The TRAM to Mission Peak:
    It appears that the proposed route for the Tram would begin near the end of Standford Ave and travel to a location near the summit.
    Wouldn’t it make more sense, to begin the Tram at a location near Ohlone, where there’s already a foot path, better parking and some retail shops.

    Just a thought!

  25. Hmmm, downhill ski run……just kidding. Although, how busy would the tram be on those rare days when the peak gets snow!

  26. RT, thanks for the input. I did explore the possibility of an alternate route behind Ohlone for the exact reasons you mentioned. The summit station would have been north of the peak. The problem is access to the top area. No existing road like there is leading in to the television transmission towers on Mt. Allison. That brings the Hillside Initiative into play. Also the hillside is much steeper and it has already experienced slides. People riding up could opt to hike the Ohlone Trail down and back to the parking in MSJ.

  27. Doug, the idea is good, but I think you are making the same mistake like A’s project did.

    If we review the A’s project, at the first beginning when they proposed the site at Pacific Commons, not many people against it. It is because the site does not close to any existing residential area. So the project will not effect others life at the negative side. But when they tried to move the location to 680/880, which is 1 mile to MSJ/WS, people got upset about it.

    Same thing happen in your idea. You are trying to put the tourist attraction in residential area, which generate more traffic and effect the neighborhood’s routine. The solution you provide is same as A’s – SHUTTLE BUS from BART to destination. Please don’t tell me you expect the same neighborhood will buy the similar idea with same solution.

    Let’s look at the fact.
    1. Stanford Ave is a small road which has no way to expand.
    2. There will be more parking lot (make people willing to come) at the hillside in order to make this $40M project profitable.
    3. Need more staffs to clean up the mountain with the increase of tourist.
    4. Gondola/Tram is not noise free. It generates low frequency noise from motors and cable fraction. Google it and you will find it.

    I would say this project has much bigger chance to success if the location is at Ohlone. That location has existing parking lot, other empty space, does not near any residential, and does not use the same road that neighborhoods are using.

  28. Kevin, thanks for the input, all of which will be noted. At this point EBRPD is not interested. All I’m doing is conducting a straw poll. Many issues would need to be addressed in advance and an EIR would need to be accomplished. I believe you read the Concerns portion of the blog. There would be NO on site parking for tram riders at Stanford Ave. If I didn’t make that clear please excuse me. As I made comment to Marty, we may actually remove some of the foot traffic from the trail, which in turn would reduce the amount of litter along the route. Putting them high above it in an enclosed capsule may prove to be a prudent move. No need to stress at this point. I’m having fun taking people’s input so we know all the issues going in. Let’s work together to make Fremont a great place to live, work and PLAY!

  29. Doug, I understand there is NO on site parking in your proposal. My point is that to make this project profitable, on site parking is inevitable. I don’t expect people take so much effort (VTA/cars + BART + shuttle bus) just to come to Mission Peak to take the tram. And it sounds unrealistic to have visitors parking at BART station just to take 1.5 mile shuttle bus to get to the tram. I would think it makes more sense to combine the tram with historical MSJ down town.

    Other than the location and environmental problem (and maybe money?), I really think this idea is not bad at all.

  30. It will never happen because 1)it’d be very expensive and nobody wants to foot that bill and 2) nobody wants to go through the paperwork slogging and the NIMBY opposition.

    For cyclists, it’d be a hoot. Get the tram to take us up the hill, get the district to create a couple of bike only downhill trails, a total downhiller dream.

    Props to Doug for thinking outside of the box.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep climbing the Peak on my bike because I’m a sucker for punishment.

  31. A ghastly idea in my opinion. Can’t we let nature simply be without destroying it with ugly money making schemes and engineered contraptions?

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