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. A Soviet map of London, labeled in Russian.
    Maps

    The Soviet Military Secretly Mapped the Entire World

    These intricate, curious maps were supposed to be destroyed. The ones that remain reveal a fascinating portrait of how the U.S.S.R. monitored the world.

  2. Maps

    Mapping Where Europe's Population Is Moving, Aging, and Finding Work

    Younger people are fleeing rural areas, migrating northward, and having fewer children. Here’s how that’s changing the region.

  3. Pont Des Arts in Paris
    Design

    Paris Wants to Build a Few Garden Bridges

    Here’s what it should learn from London’s infamous efforts to build one.

  4. A map of California
    Equity

    Mapping Racial Disparities in the Golden State

    Racial gaps in California get a county-by-county look in a new online tool.

  5. Maps

    Mapping the Blurred Lines of Beirut’s Languages

    The polyglot city boasts a crazy combination of tongues. Researchers are trying to untangle them.