Clearwater council member pushing for gondola, monorail from beach to downtown

A Clearwater Council member is making a new push for a decades old idea to alleviate traffic along Clearwater Beach.
 
Council member Doreen DiPolito wants the city to look at a gondola or monorail system.
 
Some Clearwater Beach residents said something needs to be done to cut down on traffic jams.
 
"If I need to leave the island, Clearwater Beach, on a Saturday or Sunday, I have to plan my trip to leave," said Sam Cantrell.
 
The beach is a year-round tourist destination, often clogged with visitors heading over the main bridge onto the island.
 
"We just have to find a safe and effective way of getting them here where the rest of us can still drive off when we need to," Cantrell said.
 
DiPolito said the solution is a gondola system similar to one in Portland or monorail like the one in Miami.
 
"Building more roads and building more parking garages is not a solution. It just adds to more congestion on the roads and more traffic," said DiPolito.
 
DiPolito would like to see a monorail or gondola system that stretches across from Clearwater Beach into downtown then continues all the way to Tampa International.
 
She said the idea has been discussed off and on since the 1970s and thinks it's time to not just talk about it but break ground. 
 
But she said that is easier said than done.
 
"There are so many levels of government, local and state, it makes it very difficult for us to try and move these projects forward," DiPolito said.
 
To make it work, she said private investors need to step forward.
 
"What we need to do is educate our communities, our local and state governments, on private-public partnerships so we can start making this happen now," DiPolito said.
 
Tourists like Darryl Berry said they would support it if it meant more time on the beach.
 
"I would have to buy into it because it sounds like a lot better idea than being stuck in traffic," Berry said.
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