Post by Nick Chu
Last week I had a post which asked readers to identify if they saw anything peculiar with the Roosevelt Island Tram. We’ve received some great responses and Erik was able to pinpoint exactly what I was looking for.
We noticed that a new building was being constructed literally only a few meters from the existing Tram alignment with (presumably) little or no debate on how this affects privacy of future tenants. And perhaps strangest of all, the typical NIMBYism or NOMBYism, was absent.
From my brief conversation with the Tram attendant, it appears that this building here will be of the mixed-use office/condo variety.
So of course, given the proximity of the RIT to the building, this brings up several questions about how urban cable cars and privacy are interrelated.
Why is it that some systems spark such huge debates on neighbourhood privacy (i.e. Portland Aerial Tram and Burnaby Mountain Gondola) while other cases (i.e. in Medellin and this one here) goes almost unnoticed? Is it context? Culture? Design?
I don’t have a precise answer nor am I a psychology major, but I presume the reason is somewhat comparable to the chicken and egg dilemma. In other words, if a Tram line exists prior to new tenants moving in, the CPT is automatically acceptable whereas if this situation was flipped around (Tram comes in after), there will be significant debate on privacy invasion.
Undoubtedly as more cities are now studying the implementation of CPT in dense urban areas, more planners and decision-makers must begin to fully understand and address this privacy issue and develop the appropriate mitigation strategies.
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