Chicago Gondola?

Post by Gondola Project

The Navy Pier in Chicago is expected to undergo huge changes. $85 million so far has been allocated towards its redevelopment. Image from Chicago Tribune.

Last week, St. Louis announced that an aerial gondola was in their redevelopment plans for the Arch.

And now, according to this news source, a team of designers has also proposed an aerial gondola in Chicago. The gondola line is planned to start nearby the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive and will glide above the congested streets of Chicago before delivering passengers to the Navy Pier.

While the gondola may not necessarily be a pure CPT and we don’t necessarily like seeing CPT used purely as toys for tourists, it is encouraging to see that the awareness of the technology is increasing and catching on.

If anyone has photos or additional information on this, we love to see it! Thanks goes out to Patricia for sending along the link to this.

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Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.


  1. Matt the Engineer
    Toy for tourists or not, that's a reasonably good route that would connect the Navy Pier to within walking distance of Chicago's awesome metro system. Of course it would be better if it connected right to the metro - even extending this to State St. would be an improvement. But not a bad start.
  2. If the budget is already "light" , a Gondola is the only viable option to connect the pier with the Metro ...as far I remember there are at least 2 or 3 kms from pier to nearest line, and this means as a minimum 350 millions $ and 4 years ...
  3. It could run from the El, say at Michigan Avenue, along the Chicago River and right out to the end of Navy Pier. Definitely would be a ride with a view!
  4. Is this a Toy for Tourists, or actual transit?
  5. Why this question? imagine the pier like a mall - would you project a mall without escalators and all what is needed to facilitate public access? big parkings, attractive architecture etc. I think that the difference is more connected to the fact the entrepreneurs know that for making money they need to get in more people as possible - and make them happy too - and they would pay for it . Public transport authorities usually not.
  6. tourists, although i imagine it would be handy for all the folks working out at the pier. they hold large events there, have a shakespeare theatre and kids museum, plus all the cruise and dinner ships dock there. locals dont really go so much, but it is quite a popular destination in general, especially in the summer.
  7. the city would be interested because it is a huge tourist attraction. that goes way above and beyond a mall model.
  8. Matt the Engineer
    I don't think you give Toys for Tourists enough credit around here. Tourism can be a huge source of income for a city, and transit can charge higher fares. And locals end up with a usable system that can even pay for itself. Seattle's one transit system that pays for itself through farebox recovery? The monorail. It goes all of one mile, and is mainly for tourists. That said, it's a really fast and easy way to get to Seattle Center from downtown, and runs every 10 minutes, so it's useful for locas as well. I have a feeling San Francisco's streetcars pay for themselves as well. And brings tons of tourists (and their dollars) to the city. I don't see the problem with any of this.
  9. Actually the San Fran cable cars are a perpetual money loser. And the $10-$15 per day pass doesn't make them attractive to locals. Though conversations I've had suggest that drivers turn a blind eye to locals who "hop-on-hop-off" - which I think is perfectly legitimate. My Toys for Tourists issue is purely one of asking if a technology is transit or not. In the case of something like the Monorail - do locals get to use it as a fully-integrated part of their transit experience? Does it require an additional fare, etc?
  10. Matt the Engineer
    It's an additional fare, but it's cheap. It does connect right to our light rail, a streetcar, and is near major bus stops at both ends.

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