Albany-Rensselaer gondola plans move forward

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Plans that would build a gondola from the Rensselaer Amtrak station to downtown Albany continue to move forward.

The developers are currently looking for feedback from local commuters.

Even with taxis and now Uber, many commuters find it hard to get from the Rensselaer Rail Station here to downtown Albany.

But, a gondola over the Hudson River could fix that.

Last year, a four month long feasibility study proved a gondola could work here.

In a few years people at the Rensselaer Rail Station could get to downtown Albany by air and it’d be less expensive than a cab or Uber and could take only seven minutes.

The route would start at the Rensselaer Rail Station, heading west across the Hudson River to South Pearl Street near the Times Union Center.

It would then continue to Empire State Plaza.

“They would 100 percent rather pick me up on the other side of the river,” said traveler, Anna Grazulis.

Every time Anna Grazulis takes the train to the Capital Region. Her dad and stepmom have to travel from Clifton Park to pick her up in Rensselaer.

But, if they could meet her in downtown Albany, that’d be much better.

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“She could come grab me right after work that would be way easier for here than coming all the way over here,” said Grazulis.

Well that could happen, if an aerial gondola is built across the Hudson River; something that’s already in the works.

The study from a year ago proved a gondola could work and since then developers have raised nearly $1.5 million dollars in private funds; and Tom Madison has come aboard, someone who has a lot of experience working on major transportation projects.

Madison, whose now leading the project has had a lot of experience working with the State Department of Transportation and the NYS Thruway Authority.

He says everything is going according to plan.

“We’ve had great support from the mayors of both cities. We continue to see and hear positive feedback,” said Madison.

They’re at the stage where they’re looking for public feedback, conducting a survey to find out how the gondolas would benefit commuters and the local economy.

“What are the potential tourism ridership, what the commuter riders, how do people travel typically in the capital district to get to work in the morning…so that will give us a more specific idea of how many people might ride the gondola every year,” said Madison.

“That will give us a more specific idea of how many people might ride the gondola every year,” said Madison. “We hope that we’ll continue to move this on a positive trajectory.”

They expect those results by the end of the year, but right now Madison says they have every reason to believe this project will happen.

Grazulis hopes so too, not just for its convenience, but also for its sky-high views.

“You’d get to kind of appreciate the city of Albany which I don’t think people realize can be actually really beautiful especially with the river,” said Grazulis. “It would be so cool to see from up in the sky.”

The developers are asking people to take the survey online. Use code “cap.”

If everything continues to go as planned, Madison says they hope to open in 2019.

 

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