Chicago Cable Car

11
Apr

2012

Urban Gondolas in Chicago? (Revisited)

Regular readers of The Gondola Project will recall that Chicago recently announced plans to (potentially) install a gondola along their waterfront pier. Then, not content with merely a point-to-point tourist-oriented system, The Gondola Project’s very own Chicago native, Julia Padvoiskis struck out and designed her own concept of a waterfront gondola that would actually function as a fully-integrated part of her hometown’s transit system.

Well, it looks like at least a few people took notice and think Julia’s idea idea has merit.

On Monday, The Chicago Architecture Blog ran a column entitled Wiring Chicago With Cable Cars and provided some sound analysis and critical breakdown of the concept. Of note:

The idea may seem absurd at first blush, but it’s no more strange than building an elevated railroad loop through the middle of downtown, or reversing the flow of a major river, or turning an abandoned naval training pier into the most visited tourist attraction in the Midwest.People in lots of cities use cable cars to get around every day. Portland, Oregon and New York leap to mind. I’ve been on both of those lines. And a quick bit of Googling shows that other American cities are considering it, including Saint Louis. There’s even a mine in Colorado that uses cable cars to move ore around. Even the fattest Bears fan and harshest Chicago winter is no match for a mining operation in Colorado.

It’s well worth a read. Congrats, Julia!



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Chicago Cable Car
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15
Feb

2012

Sky Ride – 1933 Chicago’s World Fair

I accidentally stumbled upon this ad while reading the Economist on my subway ride home. Image by Zurich.

A week ago Julia provided us with a very sound analysis of using CPT technology in Chicago. Little did we know (or maybe we did), but suspended cable car technology already has a fairly colourful history in the Windy City.

The Sky Ride travelled at 6 mph or 9 kph across a lagoon. Image by Voice of America.

The Sky Ride was built in 1933 for the Chicago’s World Fair and was heralded as the fair’s architectural symbol and show piece. During its one year operational period, it’s estimated that the 32 “rocket riders” (i.e. cabins) helped transport 4.5 million passengers!

While some debate whether this ride should be considered a transporter bridge or an aerial tram – given it’s past success, perhaps a discussion of this system could be used as a launchpad to further develop the Chicago Cable Car proposal.

 



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08
Feb

2012

A Cable Car for Chicago

A Chicago lakefront gondola would connect many of the city's lakefront attractions while giving riders a great view of the skyline, Lake Michigan, and the parks below.

The idea for the Chicago Lakefront Gondola came from an article in the Chicago Tribune about various design ideas for Navy Pier. (It was posted on the Gondola Project just last week, here).

**In case you missed it, the post discussed a gondola proposal for Navy Pier, which was an element of the Navy Pier Redesign project presented by Aedas Architecture / Davis Brody Bond / Martha Schwartz Partners. Here is an image of their pier rendering, gondola (the Pier Pod) included.

Of course, as a Chicago native and total gondola nerd, I took this news to heart and quickly started imagining what a Navy Pier gondola would entail. The article described a design that would run all the way to Michigan Avenue, presumably along the Chicago River, and I thought cool — a connection, along the water, to a super touristy spot in the city. Makes sense.

Read more



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