The City of North Vancouver is exploring the possibility of building a bike escalator that would help cyclists more easily ascend the steep hills of the densely populated Lonsdale Avenue corridor.

Inspired by the mechanics of ski lifts, the patented bicycle lift technology Trampe has been used in Trondheim, Norway, since 1993. It carries cyclists uphill via foot plates attached to a wire rope, at a speed of two metres per second.

According to North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto, the lift would fit nicely with his community’s cycling plan, since many bike commuters on the North Shore have difficulty riding up the steepest grades of the hilly terrain heading north. He notes the grade of Lonsdale and Chesterfield avenues is roughly the same as the hill in Trondheim where the Trampe system is used.

The bike lift would ideally link the waterfront area near Lonsdale Quay to the Central Lonsdale neighbourhood, travelling along Chesterfield Avenue.

To date, Mussatto said, “staff are still investigating.”

“I have only had meetings with them in my office to get their first impressions,” he added.

He plans to ask for a report on the technology that would be brought before North Vancouver council in September.

North Vancouver is not the only jurisdiction pondering making use of this technology. Trampe inventor Jarle Wanvik told Metro that other North American cities, including Seattle, Quebec City and Ithaca, N.Y., are also interested.

Such infrastructure is not without its own challenges, however. Implementing it could cost upwards of $1 million.

In Trondheim, there has never been an accident on the system, according to Wanvik.