RFP Process Opens For Georgetown Gondola Feasibility Study

by Nena Perry-Brown

A gondola connecting Rosslyn to Georgetown. Rendering created for UrbanTurf by Capital Pixel.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District has released the official Request for Proposals (RFP) for the feasibility study of an aerial gondola that would connect the Rosslyn Metro with Georgetown. Last month, the final piece of funding for the study was approved by Arlington County.

The team chosen to conduct the study must demonstrate its ability to assess all aspects of the potential construction, operation and maintenance of the gondola system. Teams have until March 18th to bid on an opportunity to assess and make a recommendation on whether a gondola system is feasible and how it would look.

One key facet of the study is determining the various locations for stations and other infrastructural elements such as towers and haul rope alignments. There are real estate considerations involved, including ownership of and entitlements attached to different locales, whether stations can or should be incorporated into mixed-use developments on either side of the Potomac River, and potential impact on proximate properties and sight-lines.

The team will also be tasked with determining how the stations will be accessed from the ground level to ensure that the gondolas are truly convenient for existing transit riders, pedestrians, bicyclists and patrons of local businesses. The team would also need to assess what the engineering, capital, operating and management costs and timelines would be under several different scenarios. Revenue and ridership projections will be key as well, and the executive committee for the gondola is asking that revenue be projected over a ten-year horizon at fares ranging from $1-$5 and transfer fees from $0-$2.

In light of ongoing concerns about the future of the Metro system and the drawn-out debacle that the streetcar has been, another question will be whether the gondola would fall under the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s purview, and if not, under whose.

The team picked to conduct the feasibility study will ultimately furnish a final recommendation as to how the Georgetown-Rosslyn gondola will look and function, both aesthetically and logistically. The executive committee aims to select a consultant in April, with hopes that the chosen team will deliver a recommendation and accompanying renderings and 3-D models to the public by the end of 2016.

The gondola concept was born out of the Georgetown 2028 plan, which aims to make Georgetown, which is more isolated than similarly-vibrant and amenity-filled neighborhoods, more accessible and transit-friendly. For more details about the RFP, click here.

See other articles related to: georgetown gondola, georgetown bid, georgetown 2028, georgetown

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/georgetown_bid_opens_gondola_request_for_proposals/10874

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