Baton Rouge organization researching possibility of gondola system

Baton Rouge organization researching possibility of gondola system
A rendering of the gondola lift system if it were implemented in Baton Rouge. (Source: Jared Ficklin/Argodesign)
A rendering of the gondola lift system if it were implemented in Baton Rouge. (Source: Jared Ficklin/Argodesign)
A rendering of the gondola lift system if it were implemented in Baton Rouge. (Source: Jared Ficklin/Argodesign)
A rendering of the gondola lift system if it were implemented in Baton Rouge. (Source: Jared Ficklin/Argodesign)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Imagine riding in a cable car between two buildings here in Baton Rouge, looking down at bad traffic. That's something that one organization in the Capital area wants to make happen.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) is researching the possibility of creating an Urban Gondola System.

"They are just a series of telephone poles essentially with the cable cars connected to the wire," said Beverly Haydel with BRAF.

Right now, these systems only exist in South America and Europe. There are also small gondola lines in Portland, Oregon and New York. However, there isn't a full system in the United States.

Argodesign, a consultant based out of Texas, is working with BRAF. They said Baton Rouge could become the first U.S. city with a gondola lift system for a few reasons, including the area's infamous traffic.

"There's specific opportunities like the medical district where you're already dealing with points of congestion, and how you connect people between two points of congestion," said Jared Ficklin with Argodesign.

BRAF said the area of Perkins Road, Bluebonnet Boulevard, and Essen Lane surrounding Our Lady of the Lake Hospital is one spot they are looking at, but this system could be very costly.

The organization is still determining which buildings would be connected, so they do not know what the total cost will be. Early estimates show it will be between $10 million and $40 million per mile with most, if not all, of that being public money.

There's also a concern about whether or not people would even want to use it.

"The skepticism is just, are people really going to use this," Haydel said. "Is someone gonna go to, let's say the health district part of town, park their car in a parking garage and get on a gondola system."

BRAF has had preliminary meetings with the city and hospitals. They will pay for a feasibility study in the next two months to see what the total cost would be.

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