City of Plano Pushing for Aerial Gondolas to Help Alleviate Traffic Congestion

NBC Universal, Inc.

In northwest Plano around Legacy West and The Shops at Legacy, traffic can get congested.

Some people find their own ways around it.

"You know during the pandemic the world changed so I just started walking everywhere,” Lucas Stiger who works in the area said. “I sold my car."

City of Plano Traffic Engineer Brian Shewski said the congestion comes from it being a popular area.

"Lots of corporate campuses,” Shewski said. “Tons of restaurants. Tons of retail in the area and quite frankly a lot of residential in the area."

Add the planned redevelopment of some corporate campuses and that could add another 50,000 workers to the area.

"We're trying to plan for the future and even more congestion than we had pre-COVID," Shewski said

That plan includes getting people out of cars and into the sky using aerial gondolas. Through the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), cities like Plano submitted applications and sites to be considered by the gondola builder Swyft Cities.

Swyft Cities
Rendering of aerial gondola provided by Swyft Cities

It's described as a ride-share without stop signs.

"You get on the app and say, ‘Hey I'm at this location at a station and I want to go to this location,'" Shewski explained. “A gondola will come to your location pick you up and automatically charge you for where you are going."

Plano's proposed line would extend from the east of The Shops at Legacy, across the tollway, and down to a DART Park and Ride lot.

There are also plans for how the gondola lines could extend to even more areas in the future.

Rendering inside aerial gondola provided by Swyft Cities

It's an intriguing idea for some in the area.

"I think anything public transportation wise to alleviate traffic, especially those that are on a fixed track they make people feel safe and comfortable,” Stiger said. “Especially with the highway across here. You can go from The Shops at Legacy to Legacy West and all that's being built out here so it's a cool idea."

Swyft Cities told NBC 5 they are still waiting to find out how many North Texas cities submitted applications.

A spokesperson went on to say, “The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a long history of transportation innovation, and we feel that with its advanced technologies developed at Google, Swyft Cities will be a great addition to the region, providing a convenient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly transportation alternative.”

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