Going, Going, Gondola!


CHAVEZ RAVINE, LOS ANGELES—As the Dodgers season heats up, the only thing bothering fans more than Mookie Betts on the injured list is the frustrating wait to drive in and out of the ballpark.

Fans will enjoy a much quicker trip if a union-backed gondola continues its path to progress.

Five years after former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt submitted a surprising proposal to LA County Metro, the LA Aerial Rapid Transit (LA ART) gondola is now inching closer to reality. Metro approved its final Environmental Impact Report in February.

LA ART has an estimated construction cost of $300 to $500 million and will be built under a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We are excited to have reached a Project Labor Agreement with the Building Trades to ensure that the gondola creates good-paying jobs for local union workers,” said David Grannis, Executive Director of project organizer Zero Emissions Transit.

The trip from Union Station to Dodger Stadium will be 1.2 miles long and about seven minutes, with a planned intermediary station in Los Angeles State Historic Park

Five thousand passengers per hour can move to or from the stadium, cutting down on a large number of car trips. Organizers estimate that will mean 10,000 fans for each game—or 20 percent of average attendance. In all, the project could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 150,000 metric tons over its lifetime.

One hitch is a move by LA City Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, a gondola opponent, to call for traffic studies before reconsidering her position. The City Council approved the studies, which should take place soon. 

In the meantime, the Building Trades and allies continue to rally support.

“We proudly stand for the gondola,” said Eddie Alvarez, LA County Representative for the Council. “These are good local jobs. They are meaningful ‘green jobs.’”

Inez Gomez, who lives near the stadium at the public William Mead Homes, said the gondola “will remove thousands of automobiles from our streets and give us better air quality.”

Depending on approvals, developers expect construction to begin in early 2026 and conclude in time for the 2028 Olympic Games

According to developers, the project will not rely on taxpayer money. It will seek a combination of sponsorships or naming rights and fares to fund construction and operation. 

On game days, Dodger ticketholders ride free, and local residents and employees will hop on for no more than the price of an LA Metro fare. The gondola will remain open year round as a tourist attraction.

Developers cite a poll showing 72 percent of LA County voters support the project. Opponents argue that the current Dodger Stadium Express bus can be used to cut car trips, but that system cannot expand significantly. 

With the Olympics coming to town in 2028, LA leaders see a chance to add to the international lineup of cable cars, gondolas and funiculars that pepper scenic locales around the world—from the Swiss Alps to the island of Capri, BogotaPalm Springs, and, of course, Angels Flight on Hill Street. There is an early-20th-century optimism in the image of a compact passenger carrier floating above Chinatown and the 110, the country’s first freeway, celebrating a time when public transit was seen as whimsical and fun.

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