Why stop at a gondola?

gondola pic

Have you seen the Business Report’s Gondola Story yet? If not, click the link. Read it. Then read it again to make sure you read it right.

So, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation is pitching an “urban gondola” as a viable means of transportation to alleviate traffic problems in Baton Rouge? I’m not a naysayer by nature, but right off the bat, I can’t imagine this would ever fly here (no pun intended).

Accepting their premise, I did a little research and found an article on CNN.com that tells me gondolas are catching on in other parts of the world; namely South America. But, the gondolas in South America are being used to connect areas with geographical and topographical challenges.

What about here in the good old USA? Perhaps we’re looking to borrow an idea from a great American city as we strive to be a America’s next great city. I found an article on the Wall Street Journal’s site that said a number of cities are looking at proposals. Though to be fair, none have adopted them yet. The WSJ article led with a sentence that reassured me that I’m not the only one who is skeptical about the idea. They said, “The first challenge in building an aerial gondola system in a major American city is convincing people that, yes, this is a completely serious proposal.”

With this, I have to think my gut reaction was the right one. There is no way Baton Rouge gets on board with this idea. Yes, something needs to be done as the medical district evolves. Yes, getting plant workers to and from their jobs on either side of the river is a constant nightmare for Baton Rouge traffic. And for a brief moment, I got a visual of Tom Cruise’s character Mitch McDeere in The Firm going to and from Mud Island while laying low from Wilford Brimley and his henchmen from Bendini, Lambert, and Locke. But in a city that has found a way to put off a loop for more than a generation, I think pods in the sky is pie in the sky at best.

Then I got on facebook, where Metro Councilman Ryan Heck apparently found the idea as laughable as I did. Heck posted about it. Then in the comments of that post, followed up w/:

gondola 1

(I took the liberty of whiting out names and avatars of others who commented, in case they didn’t want to be shared here.) Heck then followed with a few posts of other “suggestions” for solving Baton Rouge’s transit woes:

gondola 2

OK, I see where he’s going, but he’s not done…

gondola 3

and one more for good measure:

gondola 4

At this point I am cramping from laughing so hard. But why should Councilman Heck get to have all the fun? Surely I can come up with a few choice submissions to add levity to the beginnings of a debate that many in Baton Rouge are never going to be able to take seriously.

where's my gondola

Perhaps instead of gondolas, BRAF might look at investing in a more private form of transit:

pneumatic tubes

Why not, right? Who’s to say we can’t just hop in a tube to get where we’re going?

Not on board? OK, how about…


Or maybe a canvassing trip to Agrabah could solve our problems

magic carpet

I’m open to suggestions.

All kidding aside, I actually applaud the folks at BRAF for trying to come up with a forward thinking solution. I hope they take this post in the spirit it is intended; which is to say as the folks on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown do, “come on, man!” We need to find (though one could argue they’ve long since been found) and implement solutions that do the greatest good for the region as a whole. We are not Le Paz, Bolivia trying to connect rural barrios to a metropolis. We know we need a loop. We know we need another bridge over the Mississippi River. We know that for years on end we talk and talk and study and study and we’re nowhere on the basics. Why would we entertain an idea that far outside the box when we can’t master what’s inside the box?




Interesting post script to this blog entry…

From the “great minds think alike” file, it turns out I’m not the first to mash up Aladdin with the State Capitol Building. Check this out:

Red Shtick Cover

That is the cover of the Red Shtick Magazine (I know… way back in the days when they used to print a magazine) following Jindal’s inauguration. Completely different context. Completely different premise. And somehow, we landed on the same reference. The great thing is, it applies perfectly in both scenarios.