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Public input wanted on possible Clearwater aerial gondola study

The Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority is studying the possibility of using an aerial gondola to connect people between downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Getting to and from downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach could become a little easier if a plan being studied by the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority comes to fruition.

They are studying the possibility of offering an aerial gondola as a mode of public transportation to connect people between Downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach. The ride would be a short 12 minutes, which is significantly less than the hour plus time, depending on how busy it is, it can take to get out of Clearwater Beach.  

TBARTA began this study several years ago. They are now in the public participation phase and would like to know how many people are willing to use a transportation option like this.

"The study will ask several questions like would you use the gondola, what would you use it for, should it be air-conditioned, should we pay for it," Director of Communications for TBARTA, Chris Jadick, said.

“A lot of questions like that will be answered in the study and the public gets a chance to weigh in. There are no plans to build a gondola," he added. "This is an important first step by providing local officials with information that they may need should they decide to explore an aerial gondola project.”

TBARTA gave us this background on the aerial gondolas. They are used for public transportation around the world, most often in Europe. These are not to be confused with the smaller scale, private Disneyworld gondolas, or ski lifts.

There are only two commuter aerial gondolas operating in the U.S.: Portland, Oregon and the Roosevelt Island Tramway.

The survey is now up and open to everyone in Tampa Bay through Aug. 31. More info including a survey link is at www.TBARTA.com/gondola.

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