Study to set stage for possible gondola along length of Broadway

By Josh Resnek

Everett officials have asked the state’s gambling commission for $200,000 to study the viability of a gondola system apparently being planned between Assembly Square and the Encore casino and hotel.

The city is hoping to piggyback on a proposal for the gondola system being touted between Assembly Square and the casino.

Everett is asking for the $200,000 to study the proposal and to add a link of the gondola project to run up Broadway all the way to city hall.

Such a gondola system, already the subject of a $200,000 study being paid for by Encore, would be a mighty revolution in local commuter travel.

It might well replace or be added to Encore’s desire to build some kind of link from the Encore facility to Assembly Square and then to Sullivan Station.

Encore has suggested a footbridge between Assembly Square and Encore.

Early estimates of the cost for such a walkway are in the $20 – $25 million range.

The new suggestion of a cable car type gondola system to connect the Orange Line station and Encore has caught walkway advocates off-guard.

“Maybe both projects could coincide,” said a Everett city official who wished to remain unnamed. “It would be a win, win for Everett and the casino,” he added.

A gondola system would require huge stationary polls lined along the length of Broadway down to the casino tied by heavy cables upon which the gondolas would ride.

Officials at this point are unsure whether or not the cables would be restricted to polls set onto sidewalks or down the middle of Broadway. Setting up the gondola system would require an enormous amount of legal and zoning wrangling, public meetings, land takings, and liability, According to members of the building trade who have worked on transit systems.

A Boston Sunday Globe article in last week’s newspaper said that advocates for the walkway from Livable Streets were disturbed by the possible gondola system.

“As a baseline, we need a bike and a pedestrian bridge, period,” said Stacy Thompson. “If they can make a case to do a gondola above and beyond that, maybe there’s interest,” she added, according to the Globe.

Encore officials said it is too early to determine the form of a future Mystic crossing.

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