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Will Dodger fans take a 5-minute gondola ride to the game?

Courtesy Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies

The son of former Dodger owner Frank McCourt has proposed building a $125 million aerial gondola line high above Chinatown and the 110 Freeway to carry fans on a 5-minute ride  between Union Station and the ballpark, officials announced today.

Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, founded by Drew McCourt, said the gondola line could start transporting as many as 5,000 passengers an hour by 2022 if his company secures the necessary financing and government approvals. The company did not say how much it would charge for the approximately mile-long flight between the station and ballpark.

In addition to serving as a potential tourist attraction and ballpark amenity, gondola backers, which include Mayor Eric Garcetti, are pitching the project as a way to reduce game-day traffic that floods the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, including Angeleno Heights, Chinatown, Echo Park and Solano Canyon.

“This is an important and innovative project that will significantly improve traffic around Dodger Stadium, taking cars off neighborhood streets,” said a statement issued by the Dodgers.

The gondola operator said it will fund the design and construction of the system with the help of private financing. It did not mention if it would seek public funds or subsidies to complete or operate the line.  “This innovative mobility project will be an iconic addition to L.A.’s transportation network,” said Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies founder Drew McCourt.

The L.A. Times said a gondola station at Dodger Stadium would most likely be located by the Downtown Gate near Vin Scully Avenue and Stadium Way. The gondola would run in conjunction with the existing Dodger bus shuttle between the ballpark and Union Station.

“Our team has been at the center of so many landmark moments for Los Angeles, and this bold idea to ease congestion could transform how Angelenos — and millions of visitors — experience our city on their way to and from the ballpark,” said Garcetti in a statement.

The mayor is expected to present the project to the board of Metro, the transit agency that owns Union Station.

Courtesy Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies

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15 comments

  1. Heck yea we will!

  2. Better would be a light rail above ground down the middle of Sunset from Union Station to Echo Park Ave, or Silver Lake, or Vermont station.

    • At grade rail up Sunset is unlikely, as it’d tie up traffic too much at every light if they gave the train signal priority (or worse, stop at every single red light, and be just as slow as a bus making it a giant waste of money.) They’d have to dig a trench in the street and bury it underground ($$$) or drill a tunnel like the red line and purple line ($$$$$$).

      Would be awesome, and lots of ridership I imagine… but is unfunded/unprioritized in Metro’s queue so at least 30-40 years away (likely more if I had to guess.)

    • Samarkand, You sure called it, and received some support from readers at the time. I think you should check to see if your idea qualifies as intellectual property!

      • While I did think of the Dodger gondola independently, you can actually find a few Twitter posts from people calling for it that predate my proposal. And it turns out that the county actually studied its feasibility back in 1990:

        http://libraryarchives.metro.net/DPGTL/lactc/dodger_stadium_access_study.pdf

        Just hoping that this project remains privately funded, particularly with the housing and homelessness crisis in LA. But we’re also in the midst of a planetary crisis, and this could be a small step in easing carbon emissions.

  3. I’d like to see the numbers related to people who would use the gondola if it were available, which would require at least an estimate of the cost for the trip. If there were dedicated shuttles also traveling round trip from/to Union Station, some people might use the gondola one way and shuttle the other, to save money.

  4. Anything that frees up traffic in the neighborhood on game days I’m for it.

  5. I think it would be just wasteful spending on a toy, and frankly, it would only be more visual pollution. And of course it would never have enough ridership to ever pay for itself, it would be for Dodger games, before and after, not something of much use 24/7/365. And each gondola could never carry as many people as a simple shuttle bus. And a gondola is not going to be going at 35 mph! It would take about as long as a simple shuttle bus in traffic.

    And, why should taxpayers pay for it, for exclusive use for big bucks Dodgers!? That money could be used for so many more useful things. It should not be wasted on toys.

  6. Tom is right on all accounts.

  7. Dumb idea, I can’t believe Mayor EG thinks this is a good idea. Yes, there is a problem with Dodger traffic but this in NOT the answer. Back to the drawing board.

  8. I cannot figure out how you could possibly build a gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium. Might as well build a gondola from Hollywood & Highland to Dodger Stadium. It makes as much sense.

  9. Why not build some type of connection from the existing Gold line through the existing 110 N stadium ramp and in through the downtown gate. Perfect! AND ! should make dodgers pay for the mess they’ve made,need I say.

  10. Route B1 of the 1990 access study would be ideal.

  11. I work at the Stadium for the parking company, so I can assure you that many fans would use a gondola, as many now use the Dodger Express buses

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