Round Rock considers "ski lift-style" transport


by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 7:41 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas - The City of Round Rock is looking at an innovative way to relieve traffic congestion, by moving it from the street - to the air.

The City said in such a growing community, traffic is a real issue. Now they're getting creative, and what they're considering actually resembles a ski lift.

"If you can do it in high winds in the snow and mountains, then you can do it in this country," said Round Rock City Council Member John Moman.

It's an enclosed cab hundreds of feet in the air that could move as many as six people. The system could link for miles.

Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw suggested this unique form of travel to the Round Rock City Council. At first, council members thought it was a joke

"Then he brought it up again and again and we realized this is really a pretty good idea, it's not just a joke," Moman said.

frog design studio in Austin will create the plan.

"They cruise at 15 mph in between stations and when they're in a station they slow down just below walking speed but they never stop," said frog principal designer Michael McDaniel. "The ball park is $12 million a mile or up, but when you take that compared to the current proposed light rail here in Austin estimates for that are a $100 million a mile."

This design isn't found anywhere else in the country. The company said the sky high ride will be more than just a way to get around, it will be an experience.

"You're not sitting there looking at other traffic, you're looking at the city," said frog designer Jared Ficklin. "So you can imagine coming down into something like the Dell Diamond, what an amazing experience that would be."

"It's kind of like Jetsons, except you have cables," said Moman.

People who live in Round Rock are ready to take a ride.

"I would immediately go and try it," said Tyler Gorrell.

"I definitely think it would help put a stamp on the town and the community," said Jeff Birdsell. "Give it a shot, why not?"

Predictability, efficiency and a fun ride; people agree that a ski-lift in Central Texas might actually make sense.

The City said, most likely, the aerial ride would take you from shopping centers to hotels, to downtown Round Rock, and could even connect to the Capital Metro bus system.

The City will see the presentation from frog at a special city council meeting on February 14th.

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