January 14, 2016

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM
Location: Maryland Institute College of Art (1401 W. Mount Royal Avenue)

Roxana Beyranvand, Liz Briscoe, Robin Budish, Ben Cohen, Candace Croston, Rufus Davis, Mark Heishman, Lewis Hubbard, Phil LaCombe, Jeff LaNoue, Hans Mayer, Joe Nathanson, Brian O’Malley, Klaus Philipsen, Nate Pretl, Michael Romeo, Jimmy Rouse, Yolanda Takesian, Trey Winstead

Moderator: Ben Cohen, Assistant Director, Transportation & Workforce Programs – The BWI Business Partnership, Inc., welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the attendees for coming. Ben then introduced the first guest speakers.

Speakers: Trey Winstead – Founder, The Baltimore Gondola and Nate Pretl – Planning Consultant, AB Associates
Presentation:  “The Baltimore Gondola”

Guest Speaker Biographies:

Trey Winstead – Baltimore Gondola Founder (trey.winstead@whiting-turner.com)

Trey is the founder of the Baltimore Gondola and Civil Engineer from Vanderbilt University. Since completing his senior thesis on cable transportation systems in 1997 he has worked for a local contracting company while pursing the Baltimore Gondola project. He founded the project with his brother Peter in 2003. Trey has lived in Fells Point for 13 years and managed building projects such as the University of Baltimore Angelos Law School.

Nate Pretl – Gondola Partner (npretl83@gmail.com)

Nate is a land use and planning consultant in Baltimore.  After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2006, Nate spent time in State and local politics before joining the planning firm AB Associates in 2009.  Originally from Fells Point, Nate is a lifelong Baltimore City resident and has been involved in countless redevelopment and new construction projects in the City.  He is currently a partner in The Baltimore Gondola.

Presentation highlights: The Baltimore Gondola – Revolutionizing Urban Transit

  • Finding Solutions For Baltimore
    1. Mass Transit
    2. Parking
    3. Traffic
    4. Tourism
  • How It Works
    – 8 Person Detachable Cabins
    – Cabins always available and loading
    – High Speed Cable – 12mph
    – Electric Power with 2 Diesel Back-Up Motors
    – Towers hold cables above street
    – Stations elevated above street
  • Proposed Gondola Stations
    1. Stadium Central Station
    2. Downtown Inner Harbor
    3. Inner Harbor East
    4. Fells Point Broadway
    5. Fleet Street
    6. Canton
  • Fun Facts
    – World’s safest travel mode
    – Most dependable form of transit
    – 99.97% Reliability
    – Weather independent
    – Always cabins loading in every station
    – Raises property values near stations (TOD)
  • EXPANDABLE? In all Directions

Additional Comments:

  • The six station cost estimate is $50 million.
  • All day fare for residents would be $3, tourists would pay $10.
  • The Gondolas would allow for bicycles and wheelchairs on board.
  • A franchise agreement with the City would have to be reached for Air Rights.

Next steps:
1. Get the idea out there
2. Meet with as many stakeholders as possible
3. Work with the City

Discussion Summary: Meeting attendees were given the opportunity at the conclusion of the presentation, to share their feedback and to provide suggestions, ideas and concerns with the guest speakers. Electronic copies of the PowerPoint presentation will be made available to the full Transit Choices group. BALTIMORE GONDOLATransit Choices 1-14-16 FINAL CUT
Urban Gondola Report

Jimmy Rouse: thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and acknowledged guest speakers, Trey Winstead and Nate Pretl for their interesting and informative presentation. He then gave an update on recent Transit Choices activities:

  •  On November 18, 2015 and December 16, 2015 – Transit Choices, Citizens Planning & Housing Association, 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance hosted two City Council Candidates Forums: “Leadership for Improving Transportation” at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore. Marc Steiner (Executive Producer/Host Marc Steiner Show, WEAA), served as moderator and audio recorded both events which can be found on WEAA. Jimmy reported that 36 candidates participated in the events which were very successful. Each candidate was given three minutes to discuss their vision for transit in Baltimore, and many remarked that participating in the forums brought transit to the forefront of their minds. Additionally, there was great audience interaction at both events.
  • A Mayoral Candidate Forum will be held on February 25, 2016 at the Real News Network, located one block from City Hall. Citizens Planning & Housing Association, 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance will be co-sponsors of the event.
  • The BaltimoreLink Ad-hoc committee has held two meetings (December 2, 2015 and January 12, 2016) to discuss the BaltimoreLink transit improvement project. There was interesting and lively discussion at both meetings. Members of the committee formulated a four page document containing commentary and questions about the project which were sent to MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn, and MTA Administrator Paul Comfort. We received an email the very next day from Paul Comfort stating that our comments were invaluable to the MTA as they continue to fine-tune the details of the BaltimoreLink project. At the January 12, 2016 meeting, Kevin B. Quinn, Jr. Director, Office of Planning and Programming with the MTA, responded to the four page questionnaire which he will follow up in a written document.
  • The theme for the February meeting of the BaltimoreLink Ad-hoc committee meeting will be a discussion of how we should respond to the presentation made by Kevin Quinn at the January 12, 2016 meeting.
  • Transit Choices needs to respond to the Water Transit Study prepared for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) with assistance from Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP: Although the study was very interesting, it did not show a funding mechanism or a specific timeline for their ideas and suggestions.
  • Work continues on bike lanes and cycle tracks with the goal of protecting bicyclists from vehicle traffic.
  • CityDot is continuing their efforts to bring Bikeshare to Baltimore and is working on WaterTaxi proposals.
  • On January 20, 2016, Jimmy Rouse and Robin Budish are scheduled to meet with Todd Lang (Director of Transportation Planning) and Michael Kelly (‎Executive Director) at the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) regarding their October 2015  “Regional Transit Needs Assessment” report. Discussion at the meeting will include: 1) what steps the BMC is taking to implement the recommendations in the report and 2) what metrics will be used to determine whether the new BaltimoreLink system is an improvement over the current system.

Other Business:

  • Brian O’Malley, President & CEO – Central Maryland Transportation Alliance reported that he and other organizations are working on and in support of the following four proposals to improve transportation in Maryland (please see attached flyer for more details): Four Proposals to Improve Transportation in Maryland

1. Transportation Criteria Bill
2. Create an oversight board for the MTA
3. Expand the Maryland Commuter Tax benefit
4. Changing the Fare Box Recovery requirement

  • Robin Budish thanked Rufus Davis for providing meeting space.