Post by Nick Chu
Ropeway systems have continually demonstrated their ability to adapt to strange new environments. From the mighty rivers of rural China to the stacked vertical density of New York, it seems nothing is insurmountable.
No doubt this flexibility is a main reason why we see more and more of urban gondolas being proposed and built. And thanks to the Internet, we now can keep track of these developments as they come.
However, as we know, ropeways have been around for a long time and many old systems are now just being rediscovered today. Some of these older systems contain a wealth of lessons and best practices for us present-day transportation practitioners. Shouldn’t we be learning from them?
Case in point, the urban cable car in Wuhan, China. It travels from a high-rise building, through and above dense urban form, crosses the Hanjiang River before terminating at the lush and picturesque Guishan Park.
Originally, we thought that the Singapore Cable Car was the only urban ropeway that travels from a tall building but as the picture shows this is obviously not the case.
Perhaps what’s even more unique is that this is the first example we’ve seen of an elevated and arching roadway tower. Aesthetically, the drab concrete architectural styling leaves much to be desired. However, the underlying concept is strong and functional advantages are unmistakable — the cable car tower is integrated into the urban form without the negatively impacting ground-level traffic.
If you look closely at the picture, you’ll notice that it is an excerpt from an old Doppelmayr report. Exactly why such a practical tower design is not mentioned and brought up more often is difficult to say. But we suspect that record keeping in the industry for urban gondolas in the past was minimal at best.
I’m almost certain we will find more of these nice little treats as we continue our journey on the Gondola Project. But perhaps this is a reminder of the importance and value of improving record-keeping for all those working in the cable car industry.
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