On Feb. 16, the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a survey on the feasibility of an aerial gondola system connecting Georgetown with Rosslyn. Georgetown University contributed $25,000 to the fund for this survey, which is to cost a total of $200,000, in addition to the salaries of certain staff members of the Executive and Steering Committees, according to Joseph Sternlieb, CEO of the Georgetown BID.
The proposal for an aerial gondola, which was first introduced in 2015 by the BID, is part of a larger plan on the part of the BID known as Georgetown 2028, according to Sternlieb. He added that Georgetown 2028, started in 2013, is a collection of 75 projects intended to improve the Georgetown community over the next 15 years. The proposal is intended to reduce congestion on the Key Bridge, currently the only transport between Georgetown and Rosslyn, as well as provide access to a Washington D.C. Metro Station for residents of and commuters to Georgetown.
The feasibility study will examine ridership estimates and demand for the aerial gondola system by consulting local businesses and employers, including the University, according to Sternlieb. “[Those conducting the survey] will probably be in touch with the people at the University, the people at the hospital center, the larger employers in Georgetown to find origination and destination,” said Sternlieb.
The survey will assess the feasibility of an aerial gondola system based largely on the extent to which a gondola would be used for commuters passing through the Rosslyn Metro stop. “If it’s just for the tourists it’ll never get built,” Sternlieb said. “It’s got to be for the people who come every day, and for the students, and for the faculty, and for the people who work at the hospital center.” Georgetown University is currently the largest employer in Washington D.C. without direct access to a Metro stop, according to Sternlieb.
An aerial gondola connecting Georgetown to Rosslyn would have an impact on students at Georgetown University. Taking the gondola to the Rosslyn Metro Station and connecting to the blue, orange and silver lines there would probably be the fastest way to travel downtown, according to Sternlieb.“It would also connect the Georgetown downtown campus, the law school, so there are lots of advantages for the University,” added Sternlieb.
Sternlieb expects that the Georgetown BID will receive responses to the RFP by the March 18th. The Executive Committee will then select a contractor. The survey is expected to take six to nine months to complete. According to Sternlieb, “We’ll have a preliminary idea of what their findings are around September, and a final report some time in the fall.”
Additional reporting by Anna Gloor.