LA City Council to weigh in on proposed Dodgers gondola project

A proposed gondola project that would provide access to Dodger Stadium is set to come before the Los Angeles City Council Friday, as members will consider a motion seeking to halt approvals until further studies can be conducted on its potential impacts.

The hotly debated gondola, known as the Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit Project, has drawn opposition from some people living near the proposed project. Opponents contend the project will exacerbate gentrification, create privacy issues, and negatively impact their community with construction, as well as increase noise and traffic.

There are also environmental concerns with some advocates saying the project will result in the loss of green space, among other issues.

However, the project has garnered strong support from Dodger fans, some businesses and residents. The project is billed as the "solution" to reduce traffic congestion and emissions with the reduction of 3,000 cars of the road on game days.

Supporters also believe the project could revitalize Chinatown and bring in a "much-needed" economic boom.

Former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt proposed the $300 million private project in 2018, which would establish a 1.2-mile aerial gondola, connecting Union Station with Dodger Stadium.

LAART proposes a station at the southernmost entrance of Los Angeles State Historic Park, running above Chinatown, Mission Junction, Elysian Park and Solano Canyon. It also includes pedestrian and landscape improvements to the area.


In 2023, McCourt gifted the project to a new entity -- Zero Emission Technologies. ZET is now seeing it to fruition, which includes the building, financing and operation of the gondola.

Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez, who represents the 1st District, which includes Chinatown, has opposed the project. She introduced a motion that would instruct city departments to examine policies and procedures at other stadiums and high-capacity venues throughout the region, such as the Rose Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, SoFi Stadium, BMO Stadium and the Coliseum.

She's requesting the city halt any approvals for the gondola until those studies are conducted.

Additionally, she's asking for the Council to transfer $500,000 to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to contract a consultant and conduct the assessment. Approximately $50,000 would come from a Street Reserve Fund and the remaining $450,000 from the city's General Fund -- money that was already designated for the 1st District.

ZET sent out an email Thursday afternoon urging supporters to provide public comment and ask City Council to vote against the motion.

"The L.A. City Council will vote on a motion that would allocate half a million dollars for a traffic study and could delay city progress on the Dodger Stadium Gondola Project, jeopardizing the ability to have the system up and running for the 2028 Olympics," the email reads.

ZET board representatives Suja Lowenthal and David Kim, a former Long Beach City Council member and the former head of California State Transportation Agency, respectively, previously described the project as "invaluable" to the city and region for decades to come.

They also said ZET would do its best to meet the expectations of the Metro's Board of Directors as the project moves forward.

Residents of Chinatown and other stakeholders formed the Stop the Gondola Coalition in an effort to fight the project. The group is also encouraging the public to join the meeting in person or call in to support the motion, according to social media posts.

"Support CD1's motion to require a transit access study to be done on Dodger Stadium traffic," Stop the Gondola Coalition posted on social media. "The progress of the gondola would be paused until the study is completed. This basic study is something that should have been prior to the Metro considering the gondola, but never was."

The coalition claims the last traffic mitigation study for Dodger Stadium was done in 1990, and much as has changed since then -- requiring a full study and range of options available to address traffic concerns and improving access to the stadium before approving the gondola.

Last month, Metro's Board of Directors certified the environmental impact report for the project, as well as an extensive community benefits agreement intended to address the concerns of impacted communities prior to any construction.

The project requires further consideration from the Los Angeles city government, Caltrans, the California State Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health before it comes back to the transit agency for construction approval.