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Dodgers News: Aerial Gondola Project Facing Challenges from Metro Board, Community

It’s been over four years since plans were announced to build a zero-emission aerial gondola system to transport up to 10,000 baseball fans from Union Station to Dodger Stadium and back on game days.

In those four years, plans have continued to move forward, but projects of this magnitude are always slow and tedious. The current challenge, according to L.A. Weekly, comes from the Los Angeles County Metro Board, which has concerns about the lack of transparency in the project and potentially unaddressed effects on the community.

Metro board Director and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis brought up worries about public transparency, saying the community impact has not been fully fleshed out or explained to residents.

“I do want to see that there are more public hearings,” Solis said. “I’m still very concerned that I’ve heard from residents repeatedly, especially in China Town… who have not been made fully aware of what the impacts are going to be, including the small businesses.”

Holly Rockwell, Senior Executive Officer in the Metro Planning Department, says the project’s organizers have canvassed 21,000 local homes, relaying information in Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Spanish, and mailed 17,000 flyers about the project.

There are also concerns about the effect the gondola system would have on the current Dodger Stadium Express buses that run from Union Station to Dodger Stadium. Thousands of fans rely on those buses every game.

“There’s not a direct link between the projects. They’re not mutually exclusive. They can operate together,” Rockwell said of the gondola and shuttle. “We do see that as our transit system and the Union Station continues to expand, the demand to get from Union Station will continue to increase. There may be a demand for both.”

Perhaps the biggest concern, one which no one seems willing to say out loud, is that the project is being funded by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, and Angelenos are all too aware that McCourt projects are often good for McCourt but not necessarily great for Los Angeles.

Mayer Eric Garcetti is in favor of the project, and the next step is one that will allow the public more say.

“I think that we believe in transit, inherently,” Garcetti said in the Metro meeting Thursday. “The idea of getting 10,000 people of the 50,000 that’ll come to a game… off of the roads, is still positive.”

The board plans to draft an Environmental Impact Report, giving a 45-day period for the public to comment during four meetings on the development, before receiving a final review and certification by Metro.

“It’s a proven mode of transit that works incredibly well,” Garcetti concluded. “It’s been very good for a lot of people in more hilly cities and it’s also helped workers and others access their transportation needs in a much more efficient way.”

Worst Owner in Sports History, How Frank McCourt Ruined the Dodgers & Made a Fortune Doing it | Frankrupt

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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