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Front Page » Top Stories » Moss floats plan for short-haul sky gondola transit

Moss floats plan for short-haul sky gondola transit

Written by on February 18, 2020
Moss floats plan for short-haul sky gondola transit

Miami-Dade travelers today cross the county in a variety of ways, from personal vehicles, buses and railcars to boats, rideshares and e-scooters.

According to Commissioner Dennis Moss, another piece may fit into the county’s growing mobility puzzle: sky gondolas.

Mr. Moss raised the idea at a transportation committee meeting last week, noting that Super Bowl LIV goers this month got to ride the high-flying cabled conveyances at Hard Rock Stadium.

Since then, he said, he and the company behind the roughly $3 million project, Austrian ski lift manufacturer Doppelmayer Garaventa Group, had talked about the potential of installing them elsewhere in the county.

“I’m looking at that to explore maybe some short-haul opportunities to move people around,” he said.

In September, a significantly larger Doppelmayr project launched just a few hours north of here: the Disney Skyliner, a six-mile, five-station gondola network connecting the park’s resorts with Hollywood Studios and Epcot Center.

While Disney has yet to disclose the cost of the system, the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which has governing jurisdiction over the land of Walt Disney World Resort, paid $3.8 million for its electric system alone, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“They’re using that as a way to get people off the roads,” Mr. Moss said.

The idea to use aerial cable cars as a transit solution here may sound familiar, as almost exactly four years ago to the day the county’s Metropolitan Planning Organization – now the Transportation Planning Organization – published a feasibility report on the subject.

The February 2016 report by consultants Jacobs, RG Consultants and CH Perez & Associates examined three possible routes: FIU to around Dolphin Mall, Marlins Park to downtown Miami, and downtown Miami to PortMiami.

Of multiple configurations considered, consultant personnel most highly recommended a 1.2-mile, two-station route between Marlins Park and Government Center downtown due to its “much lower capital and operating costs than the other alternatives” and link to “a major entertainment venue.”

Not counting the cost of land for stations, permitting and community coordination, the system reportedly would cost $35 million to build, including a 25% contingency factor, and $2.8 million yearly to maintain.

For comparison, the 2.4-mile Metrorail Orange Line from the Earlington Heights station to the Miami Intermodal Center cost $506 million to complete, a three-station addition to Metromover was estimated to cost $260 million, the local cost for Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link was about $70 million and a 10-mile commuter rail service between Miami International Airport and Florida’s Turnpike under the 826 expressway was $100 million without including right-of-way acquisition costs.

“Compared with other transit investments under consideration, the overall capital cost of the potential route is comparatively modest,” the report said.

Further, the report said, the system would be eligible to receive funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts or TIGER Grant programs and could get ongoing financial assistance from existing federal programs.

“Once funding and permits are in place, actual construction of the system would be reasonably quick, typically in the range of 12 months or less,” the report said. “The stations and terminals are the only substantial civil works required for the project. Erecting the towers and stringing the cables for a 5,000- to 7,500-foot system could be accomplished in a matter of weeks.”

4 Responses to Moss floats plan for short-haul sky gondola transit

  1. bfw

    February 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Miami Dade gets 61 inches of rain per year, with rain comes lightning. Open gondolas are not the place to be from April to October.

    Brought to you from the same folks that spent $8 million dollars exploring a “sloped nose” for the new Metrorail cars. The entire passenger rail industry still laughs at that debacle at every Christmas party…

  2. Gerwyn Flax

    February 21, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    I’ve often wondered why supposedly modern rail cars resembled such blunted objects for Metrorail cars, when Brightline cars are sleek and streamlined. I should have known better, given the second rate mentality of Miami-Dade county and City.

  3. Rod

    February 21, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    The people in charge of this city will do ANYTHING to avoid expanding the metrorail…it’s like we are living in the Simpsons’s town of Springfield, while we are at it let’s go ahead and build a 10 story escalator to nowhere

  4. bfw

    February 27, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    Reasons for “blunt” Metrorail cars:

    a) slope nose cars cannot “connect”, and allow for transferring of passengers in the event of a disruption or emergency. (no front door, duh)

    b) the slope nose helps move air “around” the train in a tunnel…Metrorail has No tunnels.

    c) Slope nose trains like high speeds, with long distances between stations (Brightline). Metro systems (hence the name Metrorail) have short runs with frequent stops and a top speed of 58 mph.

    d)there are many other maintenance and operation nightmares that accompany slope front trains that the general public never sees. Just imagine trailer hitches on Ferrari’s…..