What Can a Gondola Do for Munich? - City Lab

July 20, 2018

 

In Munich, the future of public transit might be up in the air. This month, the city is discussing a plan to create a new 4.5-kilometer gondola link in the northern part of the city, linking two districts on the internal beltway that are currently poorly connected for everyone except drivers.

 

Supported by the mayor, the regional transit minister, and even the opposition parties in the city’s assembly, it’s a plan that has a strong likelihood of being built.

 

It’s still perhaps a little unexpected: Munich is a flat city with a good public transit network. Gondolas have a mixed reputation, having both transformed mobility in some very hilly cities while failing to be more than gimmicky white elephants in others. So would Munich’s embrace of the gondola be a good or a bad thing? And why would the city even need one in the first place?

 

The fact is that even the better public transit systems have their limitations. Munich’s subway (U Bahn), Suburban rail (S Bahn), and tram networks offer good coverage of the area, but they all focus primarily on getting people in and out of the city center. This is fine for commuters, but can pose an inconvenience for people in outlying districts who simply want to travel between two adjacent neighborhoods. Bus routes compensate for this, but their speed and efficiency is dependent on road traffic.

 

The gondola poses a solution to a small local issue that could, if effective, be rolled out at other sites in the city. The proposed link would connect two subway stations (at Oberwiesenfeld and Studentenstadt) that sit 4.5 kilometers apart on a major road. Despite being close to each other, it’s time-consuming to travel between them, requiring a five-stop subway trip toward the city center, a transfer, and a five-stop trip back out in a different direction.

 

The gondola could knit these two districts tidily together. Sailing over the road, the wires would be far cheaper to install than the terrestrial rails of a train or tram, but still ferry up to 4,000 passengers an hour. Land-wise, the gondola would only take up the space that’s necessary to support its towers. Indeed, the road it would follow already has space for these in the median. To make it a fully functioning link, it’s vital that each terminus connects swiftly to the subway, but broadly the idea seems sensible.

 

Click here to read the full article: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2018/07/munich-gondola-aerial-tramway/565493/

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