Athletics

Athletics

Prior to A's FanFest at Jack London Square on Saturday, the team's president, Dave Kaval, introduced the newest idea for the future home of the A's -- a gondola service.

That's right. Kaval designed a plan to make it even easier to access the new stadium at Howard Terminal.

According to the Mercury News, the gondola station will be built in downtown Oakland at tenth and Washington street which is close to the 12th street BART station. Currently, that BART station is about a half mile away from Jack London Square -- a relatively easy downhill walk.  

The gondolas will transport fans across Interstate 880 on a three-minute ride to a station that'll be built near the future stadium. "Each gondola would hold about 35 people, with a projected 6,000 people transported per hour." 

As far as where the money will come from to fund this project, it'll be privately financed -- all estimated $123 million of it.

"Really in terms of transportation systems, we feel that it's a great investment and a great way to open up this part of the city and remove that original barrier of the 880 that cut off the waterfront from downtown Oakland,” Kaval told Martin Gallegos of the Mercury News. “I think it’ll spur a lot of economic activity.”

 

Kaval also expects the gondola project to generate "more than $685 million over ten years when completed." And it looks to be about an 18-month building process with, hopefully, an opening window around the time the new stadium will debut.

And it plans to continue during the offseason as well.

“It’s not only something to reach the ballpark,” Kaval said. “It’s also something that will run every day of the year to provide that connection between downtown and the waterfront," he added.

“We might even slow it down for the views on non-game days. These things are like a tourist attraction. You’ll see the views of Alameda and the water. It’s kind of like in San Francisco how people ride the cable car, people can go to Oakland and ride the gondola.”

The cost for fans and customers to ride remains to be discussed in its finality. But Kaval did say there's a possibility tourists will be charged a different fee than locals. 

And if FanFest is any indication on the crowds, well -- Kaval isn't worried about that either. Despite knowing the possible attendance "jams" the service could take following the games, there are many forms of transportation to take advantage of during postgame crowding.

“Since the gondolas are always running, it’s not like you have to wait in line or go on a certain time option,” Kaval said. “The ability to see it constantly moving allows people to queue right away. But we envision if 6,000 people take that, it will be wildly successful because this is just one of many ways to get to and from the ballpark.”

[RELATED: 30,000 fans come out for A's FanFest]

So far, the discussions with the city government and officials about the gondola have "been very positive" according to Kaval.

Once that is taken care of, the only issue is whether or not you're afraid of heights.