Late last week, Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek made some waves with a plan to build a unique cable car across the Vltava that would take passengers from Old Town to the top of Letná.
On Thursday, he was expected to present his plans for the project to Prague officials. But following some heavy criticism, Dolínek himself withdrew the plans for the cable car.
According to iDnes.cz, the cable car would have had it run from downtown Prague’s Old Town district across the Vltava river, and up to the top of Letná hill on the other side, visualized in pictures provided to the media from the city of Prague.
“For Prague, the cable car project is beneficial not only as a brand new transportation connection, but above all, it will significantly increase the attractiveness of this part of the city for tourists,” Dolínek stated in a press release.
The project would have been funded by the city and built by the private firm Lanovka Letná, with Prague’s investment repaid via ticket sales over the first 15 years of operation. And it would have been built and launched almost immediately, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia this October.
But both the timing, and the concept itself, drew some sharp criticism.
“In such a timeframe, any construction is simply not realistic,” Marek Vácha, a spokesperson for Prague’s Institute for Planning and Development, told iDnes.cz.
“The fundamental problem is that it is not in the land-use plan. It would be necessary to make a change in the spatial plan, which may take a year.”
Other Prague officials were more blunt.
“It’s crazy,” stated Prague 1 Mayor Oldřich Lomecký. “I have never heard of it before, and it is as realistic to me as a funicular between Prague and Matterhorn.”
“There are some drugs being handed out in Town Hall and they did not tell me where,” said Green Party representative Petra Kolínská.
While this particular plan for a Letná cable car meet a quick end, there might yet be more to the story. A funicular once stood in at Letná at the turn of the previous century, and plans to bring it back have long been bandied about.
Instead of a cable car across the river, Prague’s Institute for Planning and Development supports installing a funicular at the old location beneath where the Expo ‘68 building now sits atop the hill.