Hardbrücke tram link project – vital for mobility growth

24 October 2014  •  Author(s): Oliver Weder – Project Manager in the Infrastructure Division of VBZ

Hardbrücke tram link

Zurich’s Municipal Transport Company – VBZ (Verkehrsbetriebe Zurich) – has a network development strategy known as ‘2030’ and has previously released information to express how the strategy intends to meet the growing demand for public transport1. The most important medium-term element of this strategy is to complement the radial tram network with tangential lines. The Hardbrücke tram link is needed in order to accomplish this between the two city districts separated by the large SBB railway track area and the River Limmat. This will involve the retrofitting of a tram track on a bridge built originally for road traffic. The project has the unanimous support of experts, with the parliaments of both the City of Zurich and the Canton of Zurich overwhelmingly welcoming it. Now, however, a legislative referendum has been instigated by the strongly supported right-wing Swiss People’s Party, ensuring that the citizens of the Canton of Zurich have to vote on the project. Although scarcely anyone has any doubt as to a vote in favour at the ballot box, a ‘no’ vote would well and truly put a stranglehold on the development of public transport. The overarching goals of the cities initiative. i.e. a 10% increase in the modal split share of public transport and non-motorised transport within 10 years, and the ‘2000-watt society’ would vanish into the very distant future. In the run-up to the voting date, Oliver Weder – Project Manager in the Infrastructure Division of VBZ – explains how the transport company is now putting all its endeavours into campaigning in favour of the Hardbrücke tram link project.

In order to get the public transport in the area of Zurich-West running even more smoothly and obtain the full benefit of the planned modal split between motorised private transport and public transport, tram line 8 is to be extended from the current terminus at Hardplatz as far as Werdhölzli (the current terminus for line 17) in a second expansion phase. This will improve the direct connection to Hardbrücke Station for the district, along with a new tram stop on the bridge. Both the catchment area along Limmatstrasse and the sites currently under construction along Hohlstrasse (including the new Police and Justice Centre and the site of the former goods station) will experience a marked improvement in service availability and quality. Although the Hardbrücke tram link is only a short new section, its major network effect means that it is of vital importance for the development of VBZ services and the next big step in the growth in mobility for a better quality of life in the City of Zurich.

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