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high-speed gondolas, Harley Lever
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Gondolas wouldn’t solve transportation problem, but they’d be neat

High-speed gondolas are used in cities around the country and have been pitched as an option in Seattle before. (AP)

Luke Burbank wouldn’t hop on a gondola to get to work, but he said he’d ride it for the “gee whiz” factor.

Gondolas are the latest the imagination can provide to aid a traffic ailing Seattle.

The main complaint as laid out in The Seattle Times is the east to west traffic congestion in the city. The number 8 bus, it says, is often stuck in the stop-and-go traffic along Denny. Riders may have to wait as much as 30 minutes between buses.

But if a gondola were an option, as proposed by Matt Roewe, of VIA Architecture, and Matt “the Engineer” Gangemi, would commuters hop on to get to their destination just in time for their meeting?

KIRO Radio host Luke Burbank doesn’t think so, but he’s not opposed to it either.

“It seems fanciful and fantastical,” says co-host Tom Tangney. The proposed gondola would take riders from the Capitol Hill light rail station to the Olympic Sculpture Garden, just spitting distance away from the Seattle Center area.

The hosts agree visually, the gondola would be a positive for Seattle. Much like the monorail serves no practical purpose, other than being a cool thing for tourists to ride, so would the gondolas.

While the proposal from Capitol Hill to the sculpture garden has hipsters wistfully thinking of cross-town transit, another gondola proposal might catch more traction.

Hal Griffith, the owner of Seattle’s Great Wheel, which opened on the waterfront this summer, is researching a plan that would take gondola riders from the Washington State Convention Center to the waterfront.

Gondolas may seem like a pipe dream for a futuristic Seattle but Burbank and Tangney point out that some cities actively use gondolas as a part of their transportation systems.

“They do have them in Canada,” says Luke, “which is probably an argument against doing it here.”

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