For baseball fans in Los Angeles, there are few things better than soaking in a perfect California sunset at Dodger Stadium.
The problem is getting there.
Traffic on Sunset Boulevard at 5:30 p.m. on a game night is the stuff of legend. Buses fill a dedicated lane, drivers flee to side streets, and still, making first pitch can feel nearly impossible.
Under this kind of duress, it’s likely that at least a few Angelenos have fantasied at the wheel about one day being able to soar over the congestion and float to the front of Chavez Ravine.
Perhaps, by 2022, they will be able to do just that.
On Thursday, Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies announced plans for what is effectively a gondola lift that would send passengers from downtown’s Union Station to Dodger Stadium in about five minutes.
The proposal, which was submitted to Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation this week, was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
Officials said the system would whisk more than 5,000 riders per hour in each direction, eliminating hundreds of thousands of annual car trips.
Its price tag? $125 million, funded in part by Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies and in part by other private financing.
In a telephone interview, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric M. Garcetti, said there would be no cost to taxpayers. He said he expected that rides would cost a “few bucks” — a “single digit” dollar amount.
“I’ve dreamed about this for years,” said Garcetti, who has lived just blocks from Dodger Stadium. “Traffic is so terrible at Dodgers games. It’s the only bad thing you experience — short of a loss, of course.”
Officials say public review could begin by the end of this year. In a prepared statement, the Los Angeles Dodgers expressed support for the project, calling it “important and innovative.”
And already on Thursday, Garcetti was imagining Vin Scully’s voice welcoming fans to the aerial tram.
“People don’t think of L.A. as a romantic city,” he said. “But I think it’s as romantic as Paris or any other city in the world. And this would just kind of cement it.”
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