In the works for downtown Seattle are plans to build a gondola that would shuttle conventioneers between the Washington State Convention Center and the waterfront.
To address grievances over parking problems and inaccessibility to the facility, Great Western Pacific, owner of Pier 57 and the Seattle Great Wheel, proposed the privately-financed venture. Demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct to build a new tunnel and sea wall, resulting in the loss of 1,200 waterfront parking spaces, also adds to delegate frustration.
“One of the biggest complaints we hear from our customers is the lack of parking and access,” said Kyle Griffith, vice president, Great Western.
Unveiling plans for the gondola, cars would be suspended 40-50 feet in the air from electric trolley wire and use public right-of-way. The proposed route would run along Seattle’s Union Street, primarily a commercial artery.
Stretching for half a mile, the proposed project would take five minutes to transport eight passengers every 16 seconds. It is estimated that a total of 1,800 passengers traveling via gondola each hour would be equivalent to 50 full Metro buses.
Cutting down on travel time and carbon emission could help ease Convention Center traffic in an eco-friendly manner.
Great Western officials preliminarily discussed needed approvals and the permitting process with the city, which would include completion of an environmental impact statement on the project.
Officials added the cost would run in the tens of millions of dollars, but it was uncertain how much a typical one-way ride would cost.