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A Cable Car Divides Los Angeles: “It’s a recipe for disaster”

A Cable Car Divides Los Angeles: “It’s a recipe for disaster”
A Cable Car Divides Los Angeles

"Los Angeles needs and deserves cleaner and more sustainable transportation options," said Jordan Lang, President of Aerial Raid Transit Technologies.

By Francisco Castro

Imagine 52 cable carriages soaring over your house at about 40 feet high, filled with people traveling back and forth from the Dodgers Stadium to Union Station, and a tower about 98 feet tall (as tall as an eight-story building) right in front of your house with the noise of the cable car's motor moving the cables.

That's what Phyllis Ling of the Stop the Stop The Gondola Coalition, a community group trying to stop a project driven by the former owner of the Dodgers (and still owner of the parking lots around the stadium), Frank McCourt, is facing. He is promoting it to be operational for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, even though the stadium is not among the selected sports venues for the global competition.

Ling, who has lived in Los Angeles' Chinatown for seven years, only learned about the project in 2020 because she was part of the Neighborhood Council. She says the project proponents haven't reached out to the community to seek their opinion.

"There hasn't been transparency," complains Ling, who is concerned not only about her privacy but also about the possibility of an accident or Dodgers fans returning after consuming alcoholic beverages at the stadium.

"It's a recipe for disaster," says the 46-year-old woman who launched a website to inform her neighbors about the project, as well as a petition to stop it.

Frank McCourt’s gondola is not a real transportation project, it’s a private tourist attraction to support McCourt’s private development plan “Next 50”.

“I am not convinced that this is an effective solution to reducing vehicle congestion... and I share the neighborhood’s concerns about displacement and disruption,” said Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez to the LA Times.

On the other hand, the L.A. Art firm, created by McCourt, promotes the project as a way to reduce traffic, pollution, and headaches for fans and residents of the area, promising that the cable car will transport attendees from Downtown Los Angeles to the stadium in seven minutes.

"Los Angeles needs and deserves cleaner and more sustainable transportation options," said Jordan Lang, President of Aerial Raid Transit Technologies (L.A. Art). "We have invested significant time and capital in this project because we believe it is the right solution for the region, and we are committed to supporting this nonprofit effort. With Climate Resolve and Zero Emissions Transit as allies, we are one step closer to making this zero-emission aerial transit in Los Angeles a reality."

The Environmental Impact Report for the project has yet to be released, and then the community will have 30 days before Metro—the Los Angeles transportation agency—votes on whether to proceed with the project or not.

However, Ling says there are still many unanswered questions, particularly regarding whether taxpayers will foot the estimated $300 million bill for the project, as well as safety and privacy concerns, and who will truly benefit from it.

She also points out that there is already a bus system that travels directly from Union Station to the Dodgers Stadium on game days, and she doesn't see the need for this project.

"Transit is something developers value because it allows development with fewer regulations," says Ling, who believes the project would be the key to development in what are now the stadium's parking lots.

She adds that politicians view such projects favorably because they want to throw a "spectacular party" for tourists, but for her, it's something with "poor planning and little oversight" that doesn't solve the traffic or pollution problems since the cable car operates very limitedly.

"Politicians are closing their eyes and ignoring the negative consequences," she emphasizes.

She fears the project will displace more residents in the area.

When asked if she would move if the plan is approved, she takes a few seconds to think before responding, "It would be quite unbearable to live under the cable car, but I don't want to move."

For now, she only hopes she won't have to.

“They don’t know where the pollution left by Exide ends; it’s a genocidal culture.” – mark! Lopez

A Cable Car Divides Los Angeles: “It’s a recipe for disaster”
October 17, 2023
Letter to

Stop Frank McCourt’s Gondola

LA Metro is allowing Frank McCourt, former owner of the Dodgers, to build an aerial gondola over our neighborhood. Our community didn’t ask for this project, and opposition continues to grow. It is a complete waste of time and resources.

Additionally, the proposed gondola is slated to fly less than 40 ft. over homes in Chinatown, and LA ART has failed to address legitimate concerns about safety and privacy.

---The reasons behind our petition are as follows:

-There is no guarantee taxpayers won’t be left holding the bag on expensive construction change orders, other cost overruns, and ongoing maintenance and operations. The construction price alone will be $500 million, and likely more.

Taxpayers pay for a billionaire’s pet project.

-The gondola won’t reduce traffic or greenhouse gas emissions. Research from the UCLA Mobility Lab found that the gondola does little to take cars off the road, it is likely to carry fewer passengers than LA ART claims and many will likely drive to its stations to get on.

-A better, easier and more viable solution is to enhance the existing and popular Dodgers Express with a more robust zero-emission shuttle bus system. This prevents us from having to tear up the community with years of noise, traffic and congestion caused by construction; further gentrification of the surrounding community; and negative impacts to local residents and the State Park.

Frank McCourt’s gondola is not a real transportation project, it’s a private tourist attraction to support McCourt’s private development plan “Next 50” to build an entertainment complex and market-rate housing in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. And he has failed to provide important information about the financing and public safety concerns. Given McCourt’s track record, this should receive serious scrutiny.

Given these concerns, we petition the LA Board of Supervisors to stop this project. Our request is made in the spirit of preserving and focusing efforts on actual community needs. We kindly request that Mayor Bass take our concerns seriously and act in the best interest of the community.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

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Kayla Butler
Kayla Butler
Started this petition 4 months ago

35 Comments

Romero Ulloa
Romero Ulloa

Me lo pidieron

Aidan Moran
Aidan Moran

I’m signing because I agree with this movement

Ben
Ben

This would be horrible for our beautiful city and what an invasion of privacy!

Wilson
Wilson

I support this movement

Hernandez
Hernandez

I want to help for a good cause.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I am signing this because I don’t think this is a good idea.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Im signing because I don’t support the Gondola.

Godinez
Godinez

Billionaire interests should not guide public development. Los Angeles needs more accesible public transportation, more green spaces and a community that feels heard. This project threatens public land, the Chinatown community and can further cause displacement.

Rembert
Rembert

The gondola will disrupt the lives of Solano Canyon and Chinatown far more than any Dodgers traffic has or will. I’m also concerned that if we give billionaires like Frank McCourt an inch, they will take a mile. We’re promised the development ends with the gondola but I have no reason to believe that is true. I think of the people and families displaced by the construction of Dodgers Stadium and pray we can avoid a similar fate.

Hector
Hector

I don’t believe this project would be a benefit to Los Angeles

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