BBC

An urban escalator opens in hilly Medellin slum

Climbing up the steep and narrow streets of the Comuna 13 neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia, is getting a lot easier.

The city has nearly finished construction of a six-section outdoor escalator system stretching more than 1,200 feet up into the slum neighborhood. According to this article from the BBC, the escalators cut travel time up the hill from more than a half hour to just six minutes.

The two-way escalators are free to ride and cost about $7 million to build. They’ll serve the neighborhood’s 12,000 people with a planned three hours of service per day. It’s part of a transportation effort aimed at the city’s poor – a project that also includes the city’s Metrocable gondola system.

Medellin is one of a growing number of cities to take this shopping mall innovation to the public realm. Hong Kong’s Mid-Levels neighborhood is home to the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator, comprised of 20 escalators and three moving walkways. Barcelona also has a series of outdoor escalators connecting neighborhoods to amenities like Parc Guell.

The escalator in Medellin is currently uncovered, but officials plan to build weather-proof covering. The cost of maintaining the escalators, however, is unclear.

Image via BBC

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  3. a photo of cyclists riding beside a streetcar in the Mid Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California.
    Transportation

    San Francisco’s Busiest Street Is Going Car-Free

    A just-approved plan will redesign Market Street to favor bikes, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles. But the vote to ban private cars didn’t happen overnight.

  4. Equity

    Why You Should Say 'Hello' to Strangers on the Street

    On sidewalk psychology. 

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×