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Dodger Stadium Gondola Approved by Metro Board

Following an extensive hearing, the Board of Directors for Metro has given the green light for the aerial gondola system that will link Dodger Stadium's parking lots to Los Angeles Union Station to proceed, albeit with a comprehensive set of stipulations.

Initially proposed over five years ago by Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit (LA ART), the $500-million project secured financial backing from former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. However, post-construction operations are slated to be managed by Climate Resolve affiliate Zero Emissions Transit. The proposed route spans roughly 1.2 miles, traversing north from Union Station suspended over Alameda Street, terminating near Metro's Chinatown Station and Los Angeles State Historic Park before veering west towards Dodger Stadium along Bishops Road.

An environmental assessment for the project indicates a maximum capacity of 5,000 passengers per hour on the gondola system. Cabins are projected to travel at approximately 13.4 miles per hour with intervals of 23 seconds, translating to a seven-minute end-to-end journey. Construction could potentially commence in 2024, with an estimated completion time of 25 months.

The gondola has encountered staunch opposition from Chinatown residents, leading to a website campaign and a legal challenge from the California Endowment. Nonetheless, the project overcame the legal hurdle last year.

Acknowledging the complex history surrounding Union Station and Dodger Stadium, a Metro staff report recognized the displacement and gentrification faced by the Chinatown community. Many objections voiced during the hearing centered on concerns of exacerbating gentrification without commensurate transportation benefits. Conversely, supporters highlighted the gondola's potential to aid local businesses and offer free rides to Chinatown residents.

In an effort to address community concerns, the Board has imposed conditions on Zero Emissions Transit, including the establishment of a business interruption fund, allocation of marketing opportunities for local Chinatown businesses, free rides to residents and businesses, installation of bike and micro-mobility hubs, formulation of a community benefits agreement, and funding for the Dodger Stadium Express.

Furthermore, the Board's motion directs staff to explore additional measures within six months to enhance game day access to Dodger Stadium, potentially including a bus rapid transit line on Sunset Boulevard. Additionally, considerations have been made for the future development of Dodger Stadium parking lots, with a condition requiring 25 percent of the surrounding developable space to be designated for affordable or supportive housing.

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