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Exhibit encourages city to revive popular skyride

Exhibit encourages city to revive popular skyride

SAN ANTONIO – They were an iconic part of so many people’s childhoods. Now, there’s a movement to bring skyrides back to San Antonio.

Outside the San Antonio Zoo, the Brackenridge Eagle approaches the train station and nostalgia abounds for those who remember the birds-eye view.

"I remember being a little kid and that was the highlight of going to the zoo, riding over the city,” visitor Mandy Skloss says.

“The view - the beautiful view and the ride. It was just fantastic,” visitor Arthur Colunga says.

"It was just so lovely. I'm just so sorry it's not here,” visitor Maria Weaver says.

The high-wire act was the hallmark of Hemisfair, dotting the San Antonio skyline from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s.

"The fascination of these gondolas is it allows to travel in through urban space in a very different way than it would be in a bus,” says UTSA architecture professor Dr. Antonio Petrov.

A new exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures takes you on a trip down memory lane and shows you a roadmap for the future: the professor's model of how skyrides could revolutionize public transportation.

"The big idea would be to connect the airport to downtown,” Dr. Petrov says. "You just hop on one of those and glide down Broadway and experience the city."

He envisions an aerial tram similar to a system in Portland, with skyride stations on public land near hotspots along Broadway.

"There's a price tag to this. If we would have to compare this to street car or light rail, I think we're way below that,” Dr. Petrov says.

It’s a vision that hearkens back to a familiar time, with the power to innovate our city’s skyline.

"I would have liked for my own kids to ride them,” Skloss says.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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