Paris Approves First Aerial Gondola

An aerial tramway project in the French capital cleared feasibility studies and could open in 2025.

February 8, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Medellin

Jess Kraft / Shutterstock

As Feargus O'Sullivan reports, the French capital could soon begin construction on the city's first aerial tramway, a 2.8-mile line serving five stations between Paris's southeastern suburbs and the terminus of Metro like 8. The gondola, known as Cable A, cleared pre-construction feasibility studies last week and is expected to cost less and be less disruptive than land-based rail projects, which "would require extensive engineering in the form of bridges and tunnels" to navigate the area's complex web of hills, highways, and existing rail lines. 

"The gondola, by contrast, can sail above these obstacles, and its land needs are minimal: Beyond station sites, an aerial tramway just requires space for the pillars supporting the cables. That should keep the project’s cost at 132 million euros ($149 million)." The all-electric conveyance will also help reduce carbon emissions and, officials hope, reduce the need for private cars.

"The gondola has faced resistance from locals near its planned path, who fear that their privacy will be compromised by gondola-borne passengers peering down into their yards and windows, and their peace disturbed by noise and light." A proposed solution would obscur the tram's windows when passing near homes.

The city has tentative plans for five additional aerial trams in the Greater Paris region. According to O'Sullivan, the trams could become useful last-mile solutions connecting Paris's residents and its other forms of transit.

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