Washington, D.C. is inching closer to building the first urban transit gondola in the nation. A team of consultants let by ZGF Architects held an open house last week to update the public on the feasibility study underway for the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola proposed to cross the Potomac River. ZGF, whose mission is to “create beautiful spaces that best serve people and the community,” was chosen this spring from eight teams who bid on the study. Local governments, Georgetown University and private-sector businesses have dedicated $190,000 to the project to date.
Jamie Bunch and Mike Deiparine from Engineering Specialties Group will provide technical ropeway expertise. Their company has vast experience consulting on projects such as the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola, Portland Aerial Tram, Roosevelt Island Tramway, Steamboat Silver Bullet Gondola and the Jackson Hole Tram Replacement. ZGF Architects and its partners will study the gondola’s possible routing and overall feasibility, releasing their findings this fall.
At the meeting, project staff presented a Gondola 101 primer and chronicled the rise of urban cable transport globally. The presentation even included pictures from my lift database! Slides were impressively researched and something I wish every American city-dweller could sit through – explaining angle stations, towers and cabin spacing in an easy to understand way. Staff detailed four case studies: the Portland Aerial Tram, Roosevelt Island Tramway, Emirates Air Line and South American systems in La Paz and Medellín. After the formal program, community members got to check out five stations with display boards and ask questions.