President of Venice port authority proposes underground subway train system linked to a new cruise ship terminal
An underground subway train system for Venice is back on the agenda. As the debate about how to manage cruise ships in Venice rages, a report on 15 March 2015 states that the President of Venice Port Authority, Paolo Costa, has sent a proposal to Rome to create a cruise ship terminal on the Lido littoral Island and an underground train stop there for passengers and cargo:
The Lido cruise terminal and subway system could represent a long-term alternative to digging the new ‘Contorta‘ channel through Venice to route cruise ships through the lagoon, but away from St. Mark’s Square. The debate about this proposal and the campaign against it are described here:
The subway suggestion is timely given my blog at the end of last week about the proposal to connect a cruise ship terminal at this location with Venice and its airport by cable car:
Indeed, I argued in that blog that a subway train system would be better than a cable car system. Subway trains would be more efficient, benefit local residents and commuters as well as tourists, and would avoid the negative visual impact of cable cars and pylons across Venice’s skyline.
In addition to a train stop at the cruise terminal, 12 other stops would be created at the following locations; Lido Nicelli, Lido, Sant’Elena Biennale, Arsenale, San Marco, Giudecca, San Basilio Zattere, Stazione Marittima, Stazione Santa Lucia, Cannaregio, and Murano, as well as at Venice’s Marco Polo airport, as illustrated in this map (with two alternative routes near the mainland):
The proposal envisages between 20 and 40 trains an hour with each train having three or four carriages and able to transport between 300 and 500 passengers. It is suggested that during peak days the system could transport 150,000 passengers, including 105,000 day-trippers, 30,000 cruise ship passengers 17,400 resident passengers and 2,000 arriving from Venice airport. However, the project has not included financial planning and there are speculations that this plan could take 10 or 15 years to achieve.
While we regard this project as positive, more specific details will need to be developed, especially regarding the financial costs. Inevitably, there would be some negative environmental impact, especially during the construction phase and at the beaches on the Lido Island where the cruise ship terminal would be situated. Nevertheless, the long-term environmental and human benefits would significantly outweigh these costs. In particular, a subway train system could vastly cut boat traffic throughout the lagoon and reduce pollution and wave damage to Venice’s buildings. Moreover, it would transform living and travelling in Venice, as well as addressing many of the problems with crowds of tourists.