News & Politics

Does Baltimore Want a Gondola, Too?

Charm City joins the Nation's Capital in maybe sort of wanting a cable car.

Rendering of Gondola courtesy of Georgetown BID.

Will Baltimore get a gondola before DC does? The Baltimore Banner reported Tuesday that drawings showing plans for the redevelopment of Charm City’s Inner Harbor include cable cars traveling above the water.

MCB Real Estate, which will oversee the transition from the current, indoor-mall-oriented harbor, didn’t directly comment on the gondola reporter Emily Sullivan spotted—it’s an “aspirational idea that we think could be a great attraction and neighborhood connector,” spokesperson Alexandra Hughes told the Banner.

Which brings us back to the long-rumored DC gondola, which would connect Georgetown to Rosslyn. Two years ago, the District allocated $10 million to buy a piece of land in Georgetown that could serve as the base for one end of the project. Further motion on the gondola front has been subtle so far, judging by my Google News alerts.

Though! One major possible pro-gondola development occurred earlier this month when the results of a $250,000 study of transportation alternatives conducted under the auspices of the Federal City Council, the Georgetown Business Improvement District, and the District Department of Transportation: A gondola, they announced, might not be the worst idea in the world.

The gondola options studied, the group said, “were the only alternatives to meaningfully increase access to Georgetown University, as well as the Georgetown Hospital. No amount of dedicated bus infrastructure or multimodal connections at the surface level could alleviate the key chokepoint of the intersection of M Street NW and Key Bridge.” In other words, the only way out is up?

Don’t expect an aerial view of the Continental Pool Lounge anytime soon, though: “This work is pre-NEPA, and Environmental Impact Study,” the press release notes, and “Impacts on historic, environmental, and cultural resources need to be evaluated.” Plus, “At this time, the partners do not have any funding dedicated to moving forward any of alternatives for further development.” But considering the curious persistence of the gondola idea, that hardly seems like a dealbreaker.

Maybe that’s just how it goes with gondolas. As Sullivan reports, “The gondola went unacknowledged at a Monday press conference with MCB executives and city officials.”

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.