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article imageColombian city opens giant outdoor escalator

By Armando Tamayo     Dec 28, 2011 in World
City officials in Medellin, Colombia unveiled a giant outdoor escalator Monday. The massive moving staircase is located in a steep hillside, in one of the country's poorest neighborhood.
Located in Comuna 13 in Medellin, Colombia's second largest city, 12,000 residents witnessed the inauguration of their giant escalator in what the city mayor called the 'first massive public escalator for the residents of a poor area.'
"It turned out well. I have not heard any such project elsewhere in the world." Mayor Alonzo Salazar quoted in Yahoo at the day of opening. For a very long period, residents of Comuna 13 endured what the mayor described as 'hundreds of large steps that go as high as a 28-story building - a climb that would take 35 minutes on foot.'
The mayor said, "The residents can now ride the escalator and it will take them to the top in just 6 minutes. This is free of charge."
"This district had suffered the greatest urban violence… but lately this has been receding and we hope this social package will help it move forward.” Salazar added.
The neighborhood would have to thank the officials and their mayor for the city governance to build a public escalator in Comuna 13. For many residents who have lived in the area all their life, it's a helpful transport conveyor that could ease their daily hike.
The city project costs $6.7 million to build and it's a successful feat the residents can celebrate for years to come. Olga Holquin, a homemaker in the area was quoted in Medellin's local television network: "This is a dream come true."
Cesar Hernandez, the chief of the city project described the electric staircase as being 'divided into 6 sections with a length of 1,260 feet (384 meters). It has two escalators, one goes up and the other goes down. In the next few months, Medellin authorities will build an overhead covering for the inclement weather.'
Mayor Alonzo Salazar said that Rio de Janeiro officials are planning to visit the area to see the giant outdoor escalator, to see if they can also build a moving staircase in their favelas, a shanty town settlement in Brazil that similarly clings at the hillsides.
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