Plans for an aerial gondola system which would connect the Dodger Stadium parking lots with Los Angeles Union Station continue to inch forward, with the release of the project's final environmental impact report.

Proposed pedestrian plaza at El PuebloLA ART

The approximately $500-million project, announced five years ago Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit (LA ART), is backed in part by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Plans call for the construction of a roughly 1.2-mile system which would connect to the ballpark via Chinatown. The system would run north on cables suspended more than 100 feet above Alameda Street until reaching toward Los Angeles State Historic Park, where the route would veer west Bishops Road toward Dodger Stadium, crossing the aforementioned park, North Broadway, and SR-110 Freeway on its approach to the ballpark.

In addition to terminus stations on Alameda Street and at Dodger Stadium, the project would also include a stop next to both L.A. State Historic Park and Chinatown. As part of that intermediate station, the gondola project would add new pedestrian improvements to connect with the adjacent A Line Station and within the park itself, as well as a concession area with restrooms and a covered breezeway. Other listed project benefits include opportunities for public art and support for a planned pedestrian bridge which would provide access to the park from the stretch of North Broadway which runs along an adjacent bluff.

Proposed pedestrian improvements at Chinatown/State Park StationLA ART

Support structures, including two towers and a junction at North Broadway, would also be built as part of the project. The nearly 200-foot-tall support towers, slated for publicly-owned land along Alameda Street, would be accompanied by new landscaped open space at street level.

Per the environmental study, maximum capacity on the gondola system is estimated to be 5,000 passengers per hour, with free admission provided with a ticket to a Dodger game, and all other rides priced the same as a Metro fare. Cabins would travel at a speed of approximately 13.4 miles per hour with headways of 23 seconds, leading to an end-to-end trip of seven minutes.

Looking Southeast from the Southwestern Portion of Los Angeles State Historic ParkLA ART

The gondola will require the approval of several state and local agencies, including the Caltrans, California State Parks, Metro, and the City of Los Angeles. Should those approvals be granted, construction could commence as early as 2024 and conclude within 25 months.

LA ART's project has run up against opposition from residents in the Chinatown community, who have launched a website seeking to block its construction, as well as the California Endowment, which is headquartered near the route, and filed a lawsuit last year seeking to block the construction of the gondola. Thus far, LA ART has prevailed in that legal dispute.

Cabin View Looking Southwest towards Downtown Los AngelesLA ART

The project's backers announced a partnership last year with Zero Emissions Transit, subsidiary of Climate Resolve which aims to promote emission-free transportation options in the Los Angeles area. While project backers have dismissed claims that the gondola will be a prelude to the redevelopment of the Dodger Stadium parking lots, which are still owned by McCourt, the former Dodgers owner has recently initiated entitlement proceedings for a trio of apartment buildings which would bring more than 500 homes to sites near the ballpark.'

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