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Is San Diego Ready For Sky Tram Linking Downtown To Balboa Park?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

An aerial tram in Portland, Oregon carries commuters between the city's South Waterfront district and the main Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus.

Imagine traveling from downtown San Diego to Balboa Park in an aerial tram. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts is seeking approval Tuesday to spend $75,000 to study his sky-high idea.

Getting from downtown San Diego to Balboa Park usually involves a bus, bike or automobile. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts is proposing a new mode of transportation with a birds-eye view: an aerial tram.

"Something that gets you up over the traffic, and gives you views of the downtown area and the harbor area," Roberts said.

He envisions a two-mile route from the trolley station on Fifth Avenue near Petco Park to the Organ Pavilion in the heart of Balboa Park.

"And one of the alignments we’re looking at is going up Sixth Avenue straight up and then making a right turn, crossing over the western park, cross over the freeway, and come in within walking distance to the very center of Balboa Park," Roberts said.

He said he's dreamed of the project for years and was inspired by Singapore's aerial gondola during a recent visit.

"That really impressed me. I had been thinking that it was possible, but I didn’t realize anybody had done it. And after seeing that, I thought, you know, at some point we ought to consider it," Roberts said.

He said an aerial tram system in San Diego could transport 1,000 to 1,500 people an hour, depending on the size of the vehicles.

"If you have cars, gondolas that hold six to eight people, you can start to move a pretty large group in a short order," Roberts said.

Roberts planned to seek approval Tuesday at a Board of Supervisors meeting to spend $75,000 to study his sky-high idea. If approved, the study — managed by San Diego Association of Governments — would also look at engineering and cost analysis.

"I can’t think of a better place in the world to offer this," Roberts added. "Not only to visitors but to people who live here."

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