Look Up In the Sky! It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane… It’s the Chinatown Gondola?

Chinatown gondola

Following the LA Metro Board of Directors’ final go-ahead for the construction of the controversial Gondola project, commuters in LA would soon have an alternative transportation route to Dodger Stadium from Downtown Union Station. So literary baseball fans will be souring over Chinatown to DodgerStadium in the Summer Olympics of 2028. The controversial gondola project aerial tramway is 1.2 miles long. 

The former owner of Dodger, Frank McCourt is the brainchild of this $500 million project, which since its ideation in 2018 continues to draw strong opinions from both factions.

Photos Courtesy LA Metro

Benefits to Residents if Approved

Proponents of this project claim it will revolutionize the stadium’s access as fans will be floating high above avoiding high traffic streets of Angeles as they enjoy Chinatown’s and Elysian Park scenic views. Beside this project being viewed as a sustainable mode of transportation to the stadium, it will be a potential tourist attraction that’ll boost revenue for the locals.

Looking into the Past History 

However, many are the critics who think the project prioritizes luxury over resident’s needs. It prioritizes the desires of high-end sports at the expense of the Angelinos who have to depend on public transport daily.

Opponent believes that the multimillion dollar luxurious project once approved, which it has, will be built on the backs of the historically disadvantaged communities. They cite that the Union Station is built on land that historically belongs to Los Angeles original Chinatown. This happened in 1930s where many residents were displaced. 

Still around this time, a thriving Mexican American community was displaced in Chaves Ravine to allow for the construction of the current Dodger Stadium. More people were displaced and made homeless in this region in the 40s to pave way for the public housing project, which flopped.

What’s The Way Forward?

Even as the Metro board approved the controversial multimillion dollar project, still it faces a myriad of hurdles. Some of these include legal challenges; suppose the opponents file a case against it for breaching zoning regulations, funding and cost overrun given the high cost of the entire project. This project also requires approval from among others, the Los Angeles City Council, Caltrans and other state agencies.  

As it stands, the fate of the project is hanging on the balance. For it to go ahead, community outreach to address residents concern is inevitable.

What This Means For LA

The Downtown LA, gondola project has its benefits and drawbacks to the community. Think of it as a tourist attraction or a sustainable transportation means that could ease traffic. The project could ease congestion and become a source of revenue to local businesses. 

However, it could lead to rising cost of livelihood in Chinatown and increase noise pollution in the city. But as it stands, time will tell if the success of this project will be a blessing in disguise or not for the residents here. Moving on however, expect it to spark even more debate.

Author: Kim Githinji

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