Could commuters travel between Rosslyn and Georgetown via an aerial gondola? There’s been renewed interest in this project, as proponents have started forming a coalition in an effort to secure funding.
The proposed gondola would offer a four-minute ride over the Potomac River, connecting two of the busiest commercial centers in the region. Vehicles would arrive as frequently as once every 12 seconds.
But, of course, there is no true agreement on whether it should be built and whether it would have any positive impact on peoples’ commuting experience.
Editorials from two interested parties shed some light on the proposed project and how it’s being perceived. The DC Policy Center published an article from transit writer Alon Levy, who argued that a gondola is too slow and inefficient, and that money would be better spent on improvements and expansion of MetroBus and Metrorail. Levy poked some holes in the proponents’ feasibility study, opining that a gondola stop in Georgetown would not be well-integrated into the rest of the city’s transit network due to the lack of a Metrorail stop.
“The Georgetown station would be near the Georgetown University campus—convenient for students, but for few other people,” he said. He also noted that while many people work in Georgetown and Rosslyn, there is not much demand for people to get from one location to the other.
In response to Levy’s column, Georgetown BID transportation director Will Handsfield said the gondola was not just about connecting Rosslyn to Georgetown, but about speeding access to Georgetown for a wide swath of the population.
“With the Gondola, the total travel time to Georgetown drops to less than 30 minutes for a much larger part of the region, including areas of the District with the greatest need for employment opportunities, giving them a faster way to connect with jobs in Georgetown,” Handsfield said.
Handsfield also said that, in the BID’s view, the new gondola station would be within proximity to other transit connections, including bike paths, trails and bus stations.
- Could gondolas and water taxis improve interregional transportation? - Arol Levy
- The Case for the Georgetown-Rosslyn Gondola - Will Handsfield, Georgetown BID)
- March column on the gondola from Greater Greater Washington
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