Gondola could take riders from Rensselaer Amtrak station to Albany

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Getting from the Rensselaer Amtrak station to downtown Albany can be difficult, but a new transportation study hopes to fix the problem with a brand new concept.

Jason Trelewicz takes Amtrak from New York City to Rensselaer every month for business at the Capital. While he says the train ride is pleasant, his problems start when he steps into the station.

“It’s difficult I’ll say,” he said. “You can call a cab and they’ll bring you somewhere, but it’s not easy.”

Trelewicz now resorts to paying more than $200 for a rental car to get over the Hudson River for half a day. But a new transportation study could bring him and thousands of other daily Amtrak riders some relief.

Enter the gondola, a decades old technology that could be a new solution to bring people to Albany. Gondolas would take riders directly from the Rensselaer station to the state building by cable – all above traffic.

“It’s about how we can make it as easy as possible for people to visit our city, to come to our city, and do business here or to come here for recreation,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

Sheehan is already on board. She’s working with local civil engineering group, McLaren, to get the project off the ground.

“It would really solve a lot of the transportation challenges we see,” she said.

Peter Melewski works with McLaren Engineering Group.

“It gets you from point A to point B directly and quickly,” he said.

McLaren is conducting its own feasibility study to determine how the gondolas could work. They said the gondola project would cost a fraction of other types of infrastructure and comes with other benefits.

“It’s very efficient and very environmentally friendly,” Melewski explained. “There’s very little emissions from a gondola.”

Gondola manufacturer Dopplemayr is also part of the study. It has similar systems in Portland and across the world.

And it’s an idea the mayor and riders like Trelewicz say is easy to hop on.

“Yeah, that would be amazing,” Trelewicz said.

The study could take months. Then it goes to the city and the state for approval.

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