- A glass gondola is installed and being tested above Salesforce Park in San Francisco.
- The “aerial tram” is designed to transport 20 people at a time from the public park up to the rooftop park covering the city’s Salesforce Transit Center, formerly known as the Transbay Transit Center before the tech company purchased the naming rights.
- The gondola will be open in June when the transportation system becomes available to the public.
San Francisco sometimes feels like a tech industry theme park. Now it’s even got a ride.
A gondola was recently installed and is currently being tested at Salesforce Park, the multi-block public rooftop space at the top of the city’s new Transbay Transit Center.
The gondola’s glass cabin will transport up to 20 people at a time from street level to the top of the transit center, which is next door to Salesforce Tower, the recently erected skyscraper that serves as the cloud computing company’s headquarters and now stands as the tallest building in San Francisco.
According to the Gondola Project website, the gondola, or the “aerial tram” as the website calls it, is 45 meters (148 feet) in length and 21 meters (69 feet) in height. The project says the gondola will hopefully serve as an “architectural link,” persuading passerby to ascend to the amenities, restaurants, shops and whatnot, that will be located on top.
Business Insider visited the site of the gondola in hopes of catching an early sky ride, but was denied by a gruff security guard. According to the guard, the gondola lurches into action for a test run about once a day, usually without passengers but sometimes ferrying construction workers. Otherwise, the gondola sits still, resting on its two-story perch while construction on the transit center is completed.
The ropes for the gondola were strung and installed in March, according to the Gondola Project. It will be open to the public in June, when the transportation system is expected to open as well.
The $US2.3 billion Transbay Transit Center, which will connect eight Bay Area counties with 11 transportation systems, was renamed the Salesforce Transit Center after the tech company invested $US110 million into the project.
The gondola won’t be the only method of reaching the rooftop park: there will be other elevators and escalators in the transit’s lobby for the expected 45 million annual passengers.
The rooftop park also has some other links to the tech world – the project developers’ efforts to obtain trees for the park apparently caused a cuthroat battle with Apple, which was snatching up thousands of trees for its recently completed “Spaceship headquarters” in Cupertino, Calif.
Once complete, the transit center’s roof will boast a 5.4-acre park, complete with winding footpaths and botanical gardens. A mini-version of New York City’s famed Highline.
The gondola will add a nice accent on Salesforce Park, though it’s not clear how useful it will be. With the transit center’s anticipated foot traffic of 45 million people, the 20-person glass cabin could get bogged down with long lines. And given that the gondola only rises a couple of stories high, the payoff waiting in line might not necessarily be the most stunning of views.
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