Electric-powered wheel, well maintained area around it, mobility point at the wheel, inviting visitors to come on foot, public transport or electric scooters – the future Riga observation wheel promises to be not only one of the most alluring attractions of the city, but also an example of the “green thinking” of the 21st century.
The plot of land in Uzvaras Park between Slokas Street and Raņķa Embankment has been impersonal and inaccessible for a long time. The Riga observation wheel will allow exploitation of the potential of this place, opening it to society. Where the people are, there is also an imprint on the environment. However, the developers of the Riga observation wheel point out that this attraction will meet all the requirements of environmental protection, and supporters of the green lifestyle will be able to ride in it without any regrets. This will be based on the multifaceted solutions included in the construction and development of the wheel for climate neutrality and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
The observation wheel says “no” to harmful emissions
Unlike a traditional amusement park, which is characterised by a lot of fuss, this project plans to only build the observation wheel and ticket office. However, it also means the development of the surrounding area by modernising the park’s infrastructure – improving the lighting system, improving paths, benches, facilities and additional landscaping, as well as installing video surveillance for security purposes. According to the new concept, it is planned to renovate the network of paths in the whole part of Uzvaras Park between Mārupīte, Slokas Street and Raņķa Embankment, which will be a great benefit to the residents of the area.
However, one of the most important investments in creating a cleaner and healthier environment will be access to the observation wheel: it will be reachable on foot, by bicycle, public transport or modern electronic vehicles. Parking at the foot of the wheel will only be for buses, disabled people and emergency transport.
In the future, it is planned that the staff servicing the wheel will also use electric vehicles for both daily technical work and for the transfer of tourists from the city centre.
The location of the observation wheel guarantees that it will be easily accessible by public transport. In addition, the mobility point at the wheel would provide a bicycle and scooter storage area, as well as a charging point for electrical appliances, motivating the choice of environmentally friendly types of transport.
More trees for the bird songs
With the construction of the Riga observation wheel, this part of the park will come to life, promising a safe, modern and citizen-friendly urban environment. For those who are worried about the fuss, there is no reason to worry: the wheel will turn quietly and calmly between the park’s usual bird songs and children’s chatter. No music is planned in the area of the observation wheel. The operation of the wheel itself, which is ensured by high-quality electric motors manufactured in Germany, is also much quieter than the usual traffic noise. The Riga observation wheel could be compared to a cosy roaring cat, so there will be no noise annoyance for the residents of the neighbourhood. In fact, there will be more trees and, consequently, more birds: according to the contract, the project implementers have the right to cut down three trees, replacing them in triplicate. Currently, it is planned to transplant two beeches and cut down one birch, instead of them planting five Sakuras on the shore of Mārupīte in cooperation with Rīgas meži.
Green thinking in the intentions of the developers of the Riga observation wheel is much broader than just landscaping the territory. It is also planned to use environmentally friendly materials and ground source heat pump solutions for the construction of the wheel pavilion, or ticket office, while the roof structure of the building will be supplemented by a lawn.
The observation wheel will be at least 140 metres away from the nearest residential buildings. As before, the view from these buildings will be mainly on the trees of the park. Both locals and park guests will appreciate the amenities promised by the new connections to facilitate the movement of people between different parts of the park. For this purpose, a new pedestrian crossing to Slokas Street will be specially built, as well as safe, comfortable, illuminated pedestrian paths equipped with video surveillance will be installed. But the view of the landscaped shores of Mārupīte will be seen from a distance.
The Riga observation wheel will be powered by electricity, and not only has the environmentally friendly type of energy been considered, but also the safety of users of the attraction. Namely, the movement of the observation wheel will be provided by eight drive mechanisms manufactured by a German company SEW, which are designed for an unlimited time of service. If any of the motors stops, the observation wheel will continue to move safely. The wheel drive system is provided with an independent generator, which will start operating if the main power supply is switched off, and in the case of its interruption, the stopping time of the wheel will not exceed 1 minute. It is expected that unnecessary resources will not have to be spent on repairing the wheel during its operation: all selected bearing connections have an unlimited service life, i.e., over 40 years. Thus, there is no provision for bearing replacement during wheel operation, which is especially important for main axle bearings.
What will the Riga observation wheel look like – we will find out in 2022, but it is already clear that it will bring a number of benefits both for the park infrastructure and the environment.