The Dodgers have once again been waylaid in their attempt to return to the World Series. But a proposal to build a $125-million gondola system connecting its stadium with Union Station has cleared a key hurdle, with the release of the project's draft environmental impact report this month by Metro.

View of gondola and Downtown skylineLA ART

Announced more than four years ago by Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit (LA ART), the gondola project would run approximately 1.2 miles 1.2 miles between Union Station and the ballpark via Chinatown. The route announced for the project in 2021 would see vehicles travel north on Alameda Street toward Los Angeles State Historic Park, then veer west at Bishops Road toward Dodger Stadium.

According to the environmental study, maximum capacity on the gondola system would be 5,000 passengers per hour, with an estimated end-to-end trip of seven minutes. Admission to the system is intended to be free with a ticket to a Dodger game, and rides would otherwise be set at the same price as a Metro fare.

Gondola stop at Union StationLA ART

The gondola's origin point at Union Station, referred to as Alameda Station, would be a 173-foot-long, 109-foot-wide structure standing roughly 78 feet in height. Passengers would access the gondola from a platform 31 feet above grade, with access provided through elevators, escalators, and stairs leading from the forthcoming L.A. Union Station Forecourt and a new pedestrian plaza that would replace a parking and loading area serving El Pueblo to the west.

An intermediate stop, proposed adjacent to L.A. State Historic Park and Chinatown Station, would be slightly larger than the Union Station terminus, at 200 feet in length, 80 feet in width, and 98 feet in height. Passengers would board from a platform located 50 feet above street level, accessed via elevators, escalators, and stairs. The Chinatown/State Park Station would also incorporate a new mobility hub, public restrooms, and a concessions area.

Gondola stop at Chinatown StationLA ART

The final stop at Dodger Stadium planned near the southeast portion of the parking lot, would be 194 feet in length, 80 feet in width, and 74 feet in height. Passengers would arrive to and depart from an at-grade boarding platform. The Dodger Stadium Station would also include space for storing the gondola vehicles, as well as passenger restrooms and staff break facilities.

In addition to the three stations, the gondola system would be supported by three towers, standing up to 195 feet in height, and a junction structure at 1201 N. Broadway, which would require the demolition of a small commercial building that has long been the home of architecture firm Johnson Fain.

Support towers for proposed gondola systemLA ART

Per the environmental report, construction of the gondola is anticipated to begin as early as 2024 and take approximately 25 months - meaning that it could begin carrying passengers as early as 2026.

While the project may provide a welcome alternative to game day traffic, the gondola has also run up against opposition from residents in the Chinatown community, who have launched a website seeking to block its construction. Additionally, the gondola faces a better-financed opponent in the form of the California Endowment, which is headquartered near the route, and filed a writ of mandate in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this year in an effort to block the construction of the gondola.

Likewise, the project's backers have forged a partnership with Zero Emissions Transit, subsidiary of Climate Resolve which aims to promote emission-free transportation options in the Los Angeles area. In announcing the partnership, Zero Emissions Transit touted support for the gondola from 340 business in Chinatown, El Pueblo, and Lincoln Heights.

More information on how to provide feedback on the project can be found at The Source.