11 Urban Gondolas Changing the way People Move - Curbed
In North America, gondolas are usually used on a ski vacation to access amazing terrain in ritzy towns like Aspen or Whistler. Increasingly, however, urban areas in the United States are considering proposals for gondolas and cable cars to efficiently move people from place to place.
In New York City, the East River Skyway would connect Williamsburg in Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. Elsewhere, the Chicago Skyline project wants to use cable cars to transport tourists along the city’s riverfront, while in Austin the Wire proposal would create an aerial system akin to a "moving sidewalk" that would be much less expensive than a comparable light rail system.
Elsewhere in the world, trams, gondolas, and funiculars are common, supplementing other mass transportation systems in an effort to reduce pollution, traffic, and crowding. Compared to subways, highways, or rail lines—which often require displacing huge numbers of people in urban areas or extensive (and expensive) below-ground building—gondolas are a relatively cheap option.
City planners only need to find locations to build the cable car towers and the requisite airspace. Gondolas don’t move as many people as other types of mass transit, but as a supplement to existing systems they can be quite effective.
In New York, the proposed East River Skyway would transport commuters between Brooklyn and the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Many existing urban gondolas were built to move tourists from cities to attractions; the jaw-dropping views are just a bonus. Other gondolas transport people across rivers or mountains, a more efficient and less expensive way to mediate challenging topography.
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