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Boston gondola project from South Station to the Seaport still rising

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Would carry equivalent of 40 buses hourly

An aerial gondola in Portland, Ore.
Eric Fredericks/Flickr

Private developers and public officials are still considering a 1-mile-long aerial gondola system between South Station and the Seaport District that could carry the passenger equivalent of 40 city buses per hour.

A recent route alteration shows the idea’s continued viability, at least as an idea.

Millennium Partners and Cargo Ventures—which are developing a 12-acre project at Boston’s marine industrial park that would include the gondola’s Seaport terminus—have agreed to alter the route so that cable cars wouldn’t pass directly in front of rooms at the planned 1,054-key Omni hotel across from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

At the same time, Millennium has been talking to city and state officials about the gondola. And South Boston’s congressman, Stephen Lynch, has swung behind the idea. He told the Globe’s Jon Chesto that the gondola could ferry “the equivalent of 40 buses per hour, while reducing vehicular traffic and eliminating carbon emissions.”

Millennium is also willing to pay the approximately $100 million in construction costs for the South Station-to-Seaport system—and to consider helping extend it to residential areas of Southie near L Street. (Though a Millennium executive described plans for even the shorter route as “preliminary” to Chesto.)

As it stands now, the gondola would run 30 to 50 feet above Summer Street. But things are still up in the air (heh) regarding the requisite official approvals.

The route alteration for the Omni hotel, though, means the best idea of 2017 is still alive and well in 2018. Stay tuned.