28
Feb

2012

A Cable Car in Birmingham, Alabama?

Post by Steven Dale

This comes in from Marcus:

I just wanted to write and inform you that a small group is starting work on proposing a gondola lift in Birmingham, AL. The goal is to connect the north and south sides of downtown to the nearby communities just south which are located on the other side of Red Mountain.

Watercoloring of the Magic City Connector.

You can read more about the concept at Magic City Connector.

Generally I try and avoid direct commentary on concepts and lines in cities I know nothing about. And to be perfectly frank, I know next to absolutely nothing about Birmingham, Alabama. So I’d like to leave the ultimate question about how viable and/or useful this proposal is to our readers who hail from that part of the Southern United States – or at the very least have a familiarity with the local conditions.

At the same time, I think there are a few things to point out that makes this more imaginable than other proposals:

  • At only ~5-6 km in length, the system is modestly-sized which increases the likelihood of uptake.
  • The line has limited turns and cornering thereby making this much less complicated to realize.
  • At it’s southern end, the system appears to tackle some topographical challenges.

Having said that, the system’s alignment goes straight through Birmingham’s downtown core. That causes all sorts of issues from an urban design and aesthetic standpoint that would need to be addressed early for stakeholders to get genuinely excited by such a proposal.

Nevertheless, as Marcus points out this idea is in its infancy – it, therefore, deserves the benefit of the doubt. So please comment profusely and help improve, spread and refine the idea.

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