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Gondola arrives at the National Building Museum

For demonstrative purposes only, though

The gondolas actually used for the Georgetown-Rosslyn system may end up looking different.
Photo by Michelle Goldchain

This Thursday, the National Building Museum hosted a panel on the Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola system proposed with speakers that included Otto Condon of ZGF Architects and University of Maryland Professor Emeritus of Architecture Roger Lewis.

In order to further emphasize on the benefits of an aerial transportation system, additional panelists featured Richard Eisenhauer of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Tram and Operations Manager in Portland, Oregon Brett Dodson, and former Secretary for Transport and Traffic in Medellin, Colombia Rafael Nanclares.

Until 8 p.m. that night, guests and the public were able to view a gondola car beside the museum. It’s worth knowing that the display was only for demonstrative purposes, and the gondolas that may end up crossing the Potomac River may end up looking different.

During the meeting, Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) CEO and President Joe Sternlieb said that the biggest factors that have caused interest in building the new transportation system is that the Northwest neighborhood has limited street access, no Metro station, and a population expected to rise over the next few years.

While acknowledging the uniqueness of a gondola system in the nation’s capital, Sternlieb said, “Not only is it not ridiculous, but it probably should be one of the alternatives to every single [Environmental Impact Statement] study we do.”

This past November, ZGF Architects LLP completed a feasibility study with a conclusion that there were “no fatal flaws” found. Constructing the gondola system would cost between $80 million to $90 million with annual operating costs hovering around $3.25 million.

Once constructed, approximately 6,500 people are expected to ride the system on a daily basis, equating to the median-level for Metro stations, according to Sternlieb. The gondola line would have around 24 cabins and be able to pick up passengers every 20 seconds to a minute. Each gondola car would be able to pick up around 12 people. Crossing the Potomac River would take roughly four minutes.

Construction is expected to take around two years. Fare prices have yet to be released.

For further renderings of the project, go to this Curbed DC article.

National Building Museum

401 F Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 272-2448 Visit Website