Government & Politics

Clay Chastain again proposing gondolas as part of smart rail plan for KC

Clay Chastain envisions four-person gondolas connecting Barney Allis Plaza to Penn Valley Community College.
Clay Chastain envisions four-person gondolas connecting Barney Allis Plaza to Penn Valley Community College.

Clay Chastain and his gondolas are back.

The indefatigable petition driver who no longer lives in Kansas City is once again proposing a system of gondolas for Kansas City, this time from Barney Allis Plaza downtown to Penn Valley Community College.

Chastain previously wanted to close all the roads in Penn Valley Park and install a gondola system. Voters actually approved that as part of a larger light-rail proposal in November 2006, but the City Council rejected the plan as unworkable.

This time, Chastain’s vision for silent and clean aerial transport is more ambitious.

“If we build it they will not just come, they will come in multitude,” Chastain said in an email on Monday announcing the new gondola plan.

chastain
Clay Chastain File photo

As before, Chastain would close all roads in Penn Valley Park including Broadway.

Four-passenger “Urban Flier” gondolas would connect Barney Allis Plaza, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Union Station and the Liberty Memorial.

“With an average cost of $8 million per mile to build, nothing else compares,” said Chastain, who now lives in Bedford, Va., and is not registered to vote in Kansas City.

His latest plan also includes a “smart rail” system linking Union Station, the Country Club Plaza, the zoo and Starlight Theatre and the soccer complex in Swope Park. He also proposes an electric nonstop express bus between downtown and the new airport.

Chastain’s “green transit system” petition initiative aims at a citywide election in November. It would extend a three-eighths-cent bus tax for 25 years.

In August, voters rejected Chastain’s plan for a three-eighths-cent sales tax increase for 25 years to help pay the costs of a rapid rail and electric bus system from Vivion Road in the Northland to the Kansas City Zoo. That was his 10th Kansas City petition initiative in 20 years. All failed at the ballot box except for the one that was overturned by the City Council.

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