As the city planners from Handel Architects concluded on the basis of a one-year study, neither new buses, nor ferries, nor revival of the old railway route would have the required effect. “The Marine Industrial park within the South Boston Waterfront as a former Army and Navy harbor, has always had poor public transport in form of overloaded buslines.

The highdensity development makes the parking situation tight, too” explains Seth Riseman, Associate Principal with Handel Architects, in an interview with SI. And the situation will get even worse as large companies, such as Amazon or Reebook, want to settle here, too. “In a situation like this, only a cable car can ensure fast, continuous, traffic- jam-free and punctual transport because it soars above all the chaos,” says Riseman.


Indeed, it was the traffic and development situation that drove the idea of building a cableway – in terms of topography, it would not be necessary. The Handel Architects planners have prepared designs for the cable car’s construction, operation and budget in cooperation with VHB Engineers (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc) and cableway manufacturers. The client – the development firm Millennium Partners – is keen to build a large commercial property in this part of the city and invest 100 million dollars in the cable car. The company spokesperson, Michael Vaughan, told the “Boston Globe”:

The cable car will start at the railway station South Station (top picture), the height of the cable car will vary depending on structural conditions (bottom picture).

The cable car will provide access to a railway station, exhibition grounds, an industrial park, and also residential, office and commercial areas in two phases. Photos: Handel Architects


“A cable car is an utterly new, but fully feasible, transport solution that will benefi t not only our project but also the industrial park and South Boston residents.” According to Vaughan, the cable car could transport 15,000 people per day – and correspondingly relieve the roads.

The cable car runs above the center stripe of a main traffi c road.

Two project phases planned

In the first phase, the cable car will start at the South Station, a train station for long-distance, local and underground railway traffi c, and lead along the main traffi c artery of this part of the city to the center of the Marine Industrial Park. It will stretch over 13 support pillars and a distance of 1.6 kilometers. “The middle station will be situated at the BCEC, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, which can now be accessed only by bus,” describes Riseman.

in the historic district, the cable car route will lead above the buildings.


The installation is designed as a mono- cable circulating gondola with 70 cabins, each for 10 passengers. “This corresponds to a transport capacity of 4,000 persons per hour and direction. Every 8.5 seconds, a cabin arrives in the station – this is a huge advantage especially during the rush hour,” says Riseman. Extension of the route with three additional stations to provide access to most parts of the area south of the Reserved Channel is planned in the second project phase. Also, this area lacks suffi cient public transport.

A cross-section of the station and route shows that the cable car can rise above the traffi c chaos.

The height of the route varies

In light of the stringent rules of the American private law, the cable car will only run above public land, especially along the center stripe of a four-lane main traffi c artery. In addition, its height will vary between 9 and 15 meters above the ground. “In order to minimize visual disruption, we are planning the route to run above the roofs in the historic district while keeping below the level of the hotel rooms, at the level of the restaurant and shops, passing the D2 Hotel, which is currently under construction,” explains Riseman.

the cable car will provide access to the boston conference and exhibition center.

The city considers the proposal

The cable car plans are ready, now it is up to Boston and Massachusetts authorities to make the project a reality. The offi cials have until 2020 to examine various traffi c solutions for the South Boston Waterfront, including separate bus lanes and a dynamic traffi c light system. But in principle, many local offi cials openly support an urban cableway.

“Such a system with its transport capacity could replace 50 city buses, reduce car traffi c and CO2 emissions. I am determined to cooperate with Mayor Walsh to carry this option forward,” said Stephen lynch, a House of Representative for Massachusetts, to the Boston Globe. Boston’s Mayor Marty walsh, too, confi rmed to the TV broadcaster WCVB-TV that “as far as the cable car proposal, everything is on the table.” ts

The stations will be carefully incorporated into the existing traffi c situation.