I recall them using the term “aerial tram” (not “gondola”).
When I said “but there’s plenty of space in Junction Hollow for a shuttlebus road”, they brought up problems with railroads and property. They didn’t give details.
If the planners are OK with shuttle buses running on existing roads from the Junction Hollow soccer field south to Second Ave, then I don’t see a railroad problem. The buses can use the existing Boundary and Saline streets.
If the planners have their hearts set on a dedicated shuttlebus road all the way to ALMONO then perhaps the two RR crossings are the problem. The natural route for a shuttle road is west of the CSX RR line up near the Panther Hollow neighborhood, then crosses to east of the RR line near Big Jim’s, then crosses to west of the RR line near Second Ave. The existing RR underpasses are pinch points, particularly the latter one.
Keeping the shuttlebus route west of the RR tracks all the way looks possible, but would cost money. See my map of ideas for Pittsburgh Bicycle Connections, in particular the curve called “Junction Hollow Trail – rerouted”. It’s a way to stay west of the railroad tracks. Maybe a dedicated shuttle road and/or a bike trail could follow that route. All you’d need to do is move the railroad tracks east 20 feet or so to make space. (It’s been done elsewhere: Route 28 & 31st St Bridge).
There are already Port Authority routes which stop at either end of the Almono property and run to Oakland–the 58 Greenfield and 93 Hazelwood-Lawrenceville, respectively. Both are a bit circuitous at the moment, but that (especially in the 93’s case) should ease once the Greenfield Bridge reopens, projected for this fall.
CMU and Pitt both already have shuttles which run to the business park at Second and Bates, and of course there are multiple UPMC shuttles to their lots along Second Ave.
Instead of introducing yet another source of traffic to the corridor, Almono should be pushed to work with one (or more) of the existing transit providers to make theirs available. A rebuilt 84B that extended the Port Authority’s old South Oakland loop down to Technology Drive and Almono (and provided evening and weekend service than the last version…) would be beneficial to residents of both neighborhoods as well as to the university students and staff that use the Pitt and UPMC shuttles.