Gondola may solve Seaport’s gridlock
Catching a gondola to soar high above bumper-to-bumper traffic in the city’s booming Seaport District appears to be more than just a futuristic dream, according to U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch.
The Southie representative said during an appearance on Boston Herald Radio’s “Morning Meeting” show yesterday that a developer “has come up with an interesting idea” for the lift.
“It’s one of the most innovative and thoughtful proposals I have seen so far,” Lynch said of the sky tram. “It’s like the movie ‘Blade Runner,’ a futuristic type. It’s innovation. It’s change. I think we need to look at all options.
“Don’t think Venice, but ski lift,” Lynch explained. “It’s one of the few proposals I have seen that doesn’t put more cars on the road.”
He said the route would be from South Station all the way to the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park and back again. And, he added, the construction cost has been estimated at $130 million and the gondolas would hold as many as 40 people.
State and city officials say they are aware of the proposal, but plans and permit applications have yet to be filed.
Millennium Boston, which is developing a $40 million multi-tenant project in the marine park, told the Herald last night the gondola idea has been “embraced by several thought leaders.”
“Millennium Boston is constantly exploring ways to keep Boston in the forefront of progressive urban thinking and planning,” the statement said. It told the Boston Globe they are pushing the plan that will transport as many as 15,000 people a day and are willing to pitch in $100 million.
The overhead lift is just “a concept” right now, the developer added. Millennium is also doing the permitting for the $1 billion, 775-foot tower on the Winthrop Square garage site downtown.
Lynch said development in the Seaport — home to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and numerous new projects — is only going to intensify, bringing more traffic to the area.
“Last time I had to run across town and meet with Mayor Walsh, it took me about 45 minutes to go a mile. It was bad,” he said of the traffic in the bustling neighborhood.
“We’ve got about 6 million square feet that has not been developed yet,” the South Boston Democrat said. “When that comes online, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on the roads and infrastructure.”
Lynch said the proposal is “absolutely” feasible and being seriously considered. One of the main questions is whether it would be part of the MBTA system, he said.
“I would rather have it be part of the MBTA, to be honest with you. That way there is a certain continuity — you know what the fees will be,” Lynch said.
Lynch also said gondolas would help General Electric “a great deal.” GE has moved its corporate headquarters to the Fort Point Channel, at the start of the Seaport. The company — perennially atop the Fortune 500 list — is planning a $200 million project, which has been delayed by a few years.
State officials have said part of their transportation study for the Seaport is to build up the MBTA service. A heliport for GE has also been pitched for easing traffic, but has been shelved.