By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s be honest about it, the South Boston Seaport District development has proven to be wildly popular, economically lucrative and a planning disaster.

Traffic there is often gridlocked. A trip that should take a few minutes can run 40 minutes or more. Parking is either virtually nonexistent or prohibitively expensive. And the public transit options are scarce and inadequate.

So what do we do about it?

Seaport developers and public officials have been discussing the idea of a gondola to ferry passengers from South Station to the Marine Industrial Park at the other end of the Seaport, with a possible stop at the Convention Center. They say it would reduce ground traffic and pollution, and perhaps best of all, would be paid for with private money.

Urban mass-transit gondolas are already running successfully in several South American countries. And after years of running a small but popular gondola from an island in the East River to Manhattan, some New Yorkers are pushing for more gondolas to connect Brooklyn with the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

It seems like a great idea to relieve at least some of the Seaport’s massive traffic headache, doesn’t it?

But don’t forget that just as no good deed goes unpunished, no good idea goes undisparaged.

gondola Keller @ Large: Boston Gondola Supporters Will Need Some Luck

Gondolas near Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo credit ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

I saw someone on Twitter complaining that gondolas will never survive Boston’s cold and wind. Gee, I wonder how they manage to work up in ski country?

There are at least a dozen proposals around the country for urban gondolas. Only one city, Portland, Oregon, has one.

Good luck, Boston gondola proponents. You’re going to need it.

Your opinion is welcome. Share it via email at, or use Twitter, @kelleratlarge.

  1. Gondolas….

    Hmmm…Aren’t they somewhat similar to elevated trains which take a lot fewer passengers?

    And oh, those towers that they are going to have to build to hang the cables off of…They’ll be just so attractive when the private owners understand that they are nothing more than billboards with a different aspect ratio.

    Great for the neighborhood, eh what…

    And isn’t that decision to remove the trolley tracks all those years ago looking more and more like the really stupid choice that it really was?

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