Old Town may be linked to Letná by a cable car

A proposal to add another tourist attraction to the waterfront is in its early stages

Cable cars may return to Prague's Letná Park and may also appear in the northern part of the city. The plans are still its early phases, and construction will not start before 2019 at the earliest.

One of the cable car routes would begin on Revoluční třída in Prague 1, cross the Vltava river on elevated cables and end in the parking lot across from Sparta Stadium at the edge of Letná Park.

The second proposed route would run between Podbaba and Bohnice, with a stop at the Prague Zoo. The routes for both are not certain, as access rights still have to be acquired. A cable car to Letná existed about a century ago. The Podbaba to Bohnice route would be new.

The cable car to Letná has been proposed by a group of private investors led by Klára Sovová, who will run them for a profit, news server Aktualne.cz reported. Sovová is involved in a chalet called Luční boudy in Pec pod Sněžkou in the Krkonoše Mountains, among other projects.

The cost of the Letná project would range between Kč 70 million and Kč 90 million, depending on the type of cable cars used and on the requirements the city imposes to protect the historical center. Sovová told Aktualne.cz that similar cable cars have been big tourist attractions in other cities, and that the one to Letná would provide a good view of the castle.

Sovová is now getting ready to present the Letná cable car proposal to the Prague 1 and Prague 7 districts, which would be affected. The districts still have to evaluate the plan and give permission for zoning and construction before any work can begin.

Prague 7 District Mayor Jan Čižinský has expressed concerns that the cable car would either affect the park too much if it runs at a low level or affect the skyline too much if it is higher. The project will have to go through all the relevant district planning committees before any action can be taken, he told Aktualne.cz.

Some others were a bit more willing to take a wait-and-see attitude. Jiří Skalický, head of the Prague conservation section, said that the project does have a historical context as there had been a cable car a century ago. He added that it would not disrupt the skyline as much as a proposed Ferris wheel in Prague 5, which was criticized by conservationists. He added, though, that he has not yet seen the project proposal.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (Social Democrats, ČSSD), in charge of municipal transportation issues, also did not want to condemn the project before there was a concrete proposal, but he stressed that it was important that the city would not have to pay anything for it.

Getting the cable car to Letná might not be an easy task, as in the past people have proven to be quite protective of the park. A proposed modern National Library designed for the plain at Letná Park was not built after a large public outcry that it was not appropriate for the space and would detract from the nearby Castle district. The proposal was unveiled in 2007 but by 2009 it was clear it would never be built. The library design was by Jan Kaplický.

The Podbaba to Bohnice route is in an even earlier stage of preparation. The Town Hall of Prague 6 would like to see the cable car system built with public money. Prague 6 Deputy Mayor Eva Smutná said the project would increase transportation options in the city and help link two Prague neighborhoods that are close by separated by a river with no convenient bridge. It would also make reaching the Prague Zoo easier. The full route has not yet been determined.

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