Dodger stadium gondola project sends community overboard

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Joel Carpio

A gondola model at the LA ART gondola exhibit in the Dodger Stadium parking lot

Joel Carpio, Co-News editor

Los Angeles could soon be getting a new mode of transportation that goes from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

Frank McCourt, former owner of the Dodgers, owns 50% of the parking lot at Dodger Stadium where one of the proposed stops can be built.

Through a limited partnership Frank McCourt established with Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit, McCourt proposed the gondola project.

The gondola system would take passengers that have a ticket to a Dodger game on a sky ride within the gondolas from Union Station to Dodger Stadium.

The proposed plan is being led by Zero Emission Transit, which was handed to them from the Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit and has become the operator & owner of the gondola project.

Construction is predicted to begin in 2026 if the project is approved and the gondola system could be in operation in time for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

The project was said to cost $125 million but that price tag has ballooned and is now said to cost $300 million to complete the project.

The project is said to be “zero-emissions” meaning there will be no greenhouse gas emissions created by the project and it will run on renewable energy, the goal of the project is focused on removing cars from the road and reducing carbon emissions.

Nathan Click, a Zero Emission Transit spokesperson talks more about the project here and who will be funding the project entirely.

Zero Emission Transit, the non-profit that is now leading the project and whom I represent, is overseeing construction and developing a financial plan,” Click said, “The previous sponsor, LA ART, is continuing its commitment to fund the environmental review and the project’s entitlement process.”

“We expect private revenue sources, such as sponsorship rights, as well as tourism fares to play a major role in helping the project pencil out. Full financing specifics can be expected in the coming months.”

This project does come with its fair share of controversy and concerns surrounding the topic of privacy and safety for people who live within the communities of the proposed route for the project.

The California Endowment and StopTheGondola are two groups opposing the gondola project.

Phyllis Ling a spokesperson and organizer from StopTheGondola outlined why they don’t want the gondola to be built.

The numbers don’t add up. This gondola project doesn’t make sense from any standpoint, whether it’s transit or tourism,” Ling said,” From the beginning, there have been a lot of big promises without any details or evidence to back up the claims about the benefits of this system.”

“Our communities are being asked to shoulder the burdens of this project – the noise, the invasion of privacy, and the concerns about safety and maintenance for a system that still has no funding plan whatsoever.”

Click would go on to address the controversy and concerns that people opposing the project have.

“The current route flies over a single house and we’ve consulted with manufacturers who have confirmed that the cabins can be installed with privacy glass that will become opaque while flying near or next to locations with privacy concerns,” Click explained

Ling refutes the claims that LA ART and Zero Emission Transit have made about making glass opaque in certain areas to ensure privacy continuously.

“Yes, this would be a huge invasion of privacy. LA ART dismisses our concerns about privacy by saying they will use smart glass to fog up the windows at certain unspecified points along the route,” Ling refuted.

“They have not provided any information as to how it would be implemented. Where exactly on the route would the windows be fogged up? How is this decided?”

Click explains and shares a poll that was recently taken in relation to the gondola project.

“Moreover, a recent poll shows that 72% of Los Angeles County voters support the gondola proposal and nearly 4 out of 5 voters believe there is a need for alternative modes of transportation to Dodger Stadium,” Click said.

Click explains there is growing support for the project, but that would seem to be questionable with the opposition mounting it is making the project tougher to get approved and let construction begin.

With the amount of legal trouble this project is facing there is no telling whether the project will actually be built or not.