Posts Tagged: Medellin

05
Oct

2015

Medellin/Caracas, Part 1

Last week I travelled to Medellin, Colombia and Caracas, Venezuela to tour five of the most important CPT systems in the world. This is Part 1 of a photo essay on those systems. In this part, a brief overview of the history of cable transit in this part of the world will be explained. Image by Steven Dale.

HISTORY

Modern Cable Propelled Transit started in Caracas, Venezuela with the Mount Avila Gondola. This system was originally built in the middle of the last century to carry people from Caracas to the top of Mount Avila where the luxurious Hotel Humboldt had been built. Political and economic strife caused the government to leave for neglect both the hotel and gondola. The gondola itself was not reopened until 1999, after a successful rebuild.

The Avila Mountain Gondola In Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

An Avila Mountain Gondola From Below. Image by Steven Dale.

A gondola passes over two original and well-preserved antique gondola cars at the Mount Avila Caracas Terminal. Image by Steven Dale.

The Avila gondola cannot, however, be truly classed as cable transit. It lacks integration to the local transit network and really exists more for tourists, not local commuters. It did, however, indirectly inspire the nearby city of Medellin, Colombia to pursue a fully-integrated CPT system to serve the impoverished and dangerous barrio of Santo Domingo. The system would take almost 5 years to open, from conception to fruition and would be the world’s first true CPT system. They would name it The Metrocable. The first line, consistent with the city’s existing Metro system, would be named Linea K.

A Linea K Metrocable Car in Medellin, Colombia. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable over top the Santo Domingo barrio. Image by Steven Dale.

Gondolas depart a Linea J Metrocable station. Image by Steven Dale.

Metrocable Linea K would be an enormous success. Crime rates in Santo Domingo plunged and area investment skyrocketed. In the four years since Linea K opened, crime in Santo Domingo virtually disappeared, jobs have increased 300% and 3 banks have opened along the Metrocable route. With such an obvious success story, Metro officials had little trouble convincing decision-makers to open Linea J.

Unlike Linea K, Linea J would connect several smaller barrios in the western end of the city. These barrios suffered from similar economic conditions but did not have the population density that Linea K had. This was considered a good thing as Linea K suffered from overcrowding almost immediately upon opening, a situation not witnessed on Linea J.

A Linea J gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Meanwhile, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela was not to be undone. The opening of the second Metrocable line in Medellin made Chavez lust after a similar system in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Within 2 years, Chavez’s dream would be realized with Caracas opening their own cable transit system in early 2010. It was also to be named The Metrocable.

Like the Medellin systems before it, the Caracas Metrocable would provide transit to under-serviced barrios with a history of crime and poverty. But unlike the Medellin systems, Caracas would feature enormous stations that included social facilities such as gymnasiums, police stations, community centres and markets. The Caracas Metrocable would also be the first in the world to feature extreme 90 degree turning radii at stations.

Gondolas enter and exit a station in Caracas. Image by Steven Dale.

The Caracas Metrocable. Image by Steven Dale.

The Metrocable loop between Medellin and Venezuela came full circle in early 2010. While Chavez was opening his first system in Caracas, Medellin was opening their third Metrocable line. But this time, the line looked more similar to the original Mount Avila system from Venezuela circa 1999.

While still fully-integrated into the Medellin Metro, the new Linea L services the Parque Arvi at the top of a nearby mountain in Medellin and requires an additional fare of 1,550 Colombian Pesos (roughly $1 US dollar). Linea L would give quick, affordable access to wilderness and parkland facilities that had previously only been accessible to wealthy land-owners in Medellin. This was a welcome change, given Colombia’s historically wide gap between rich and poor.

A Linea L gondola. Image by Steven Dale.

Medellin as seen from the Linea L, Parque Arvi nature preserve. Image by Steven Dale.

Both cities are engaged in major plans to expand their Metrocable offerings and cities throughout Latin America are embarking upon cable transit plans of their own.

Read Part 2.



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14
Oct

2014

The Hybrid Monorail-Funicular-Cable Car?

Every so often we are confronted with wonderful and mysterious transportation devices (see Chinese Tunnel Bus). Today, we happen to come across the Sistema Monorail Con Funiculares (or the Monorail System With Funiculars) — a conceptual transit system designed by ECOLVIAS from Medellin, Colombia.

There’s not much information about this technology but it does make me wonder what type of advantages/disadvantages one might discover if you fuse monorail technology with cable cars. Perhaps it offers greater stability, capacity and/or speeds? Or maybe it’s as simple as being able to travel in style onboard teardrop-shaped cabins. Without any additional details it’s really anybody’s guess at this time.

But perhaps our engineer readers have a better idea and could provide us with your thoughts!



Big thanks goes out to Guenther for the link.



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12
Sep

2014

Weekly Roundup: Medellin’s Mayor Announces City’s Third Metrocable (Urban Cable Car Line)

View of Medellin from El Picacho – Image by Flickr user Omar Uran.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of urban gondolas, cable cars and cable propelled transit:

  • Curo, the developers for a new suburb in Bath, England have reportedly revealed renderings for their cable car development plans. These designs were created after a year of community meetings and workshops. The cable car will link Foxhill to the city centre. Detailed plans can be viewed this weekend at the St. Andrew’s Community Church.

 



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Weekly Roundup
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09
Aug

2013

Weekly Roundup: Work Continues on La Paz-El Alto Teleférico Metropolitano

Program coordinator, César Dockweiler, inspecting electromechanical components for the La Paz-El Alto Teleférico Metropolitano at Doppelmayr’s Wolfurt plant. Image from LaRazon.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of cable cars, urban gondolas, and cable propelled transit:



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14
Jun

2013

Weekly Roundup: Koblenz Rheinseilbahn Not Compatible with Area – UNESCO Status in Jeopardy

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of cable cars, urban gondolas, and cable propelled transit:

Koblenz Seilbahn

Koblenz Rheinseilbahn. Image by Flickr user Steffi.



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17
May

2013

Weekly Roundup: Map of Jerusalem Cable Car

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of cable cars, urban gondolas, and cable propelled transit:

Jerusalem Cable Car Proposal Map.

  • Reports surfaced the last couple weeks about an urban cable car proposal in Jerusalem. A map of the proposed 1.6 km alignment is now available can be seen above or by clicking here.


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11
Oct

2012

Reducing Violence by Transforming Neighborhoods: A Natural Experiment in Medellín, Colombia

The American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a report, Reducing violence by transforming neighborhoods: a natural experiment in Medellín, Colombia, which examines the effects of “neighbourhood level interventions”. In this research paper, the “intervention” studied was the implementation of the Metrocable Line K in 2004.

Medellin Metrocable Line K. Image by Steven Dale, CUP Projects.

The paper looks at 25 neighbourhoods that were serviced by the Metrocable and 23 similar neighbourhoods from around the city that were not effected by the Metrocable. Researchers conducted a survey of these neighbourhoods in 2008, and compared them to the responses from a 2003 city-wide household survey on violence and neighbourhoods.

A cursory look at the findings indicate that the intervention neighbourhoods (those which were effected by the Metrocable) experienced a 66% faster decline in homicide rates than in the control neighbourhoods. Yet, in actuality, violence and homicide rates in both cable and non-cable areas decreased dramatically.

It should also be noted that while the government was constructing the Metrocable, they were simultaneously making other improvements to the gondola neighbourhoods, including: “additional lighting for public spaces; new pedestrian bridges and street paths; ‘‘library parks’’; buildings for schools, recreational centers, and centers to promote microenterprises; more police patrols; and a family police station next to a gondola station.”

Overall the results are encouraging for Medellín. Crime is down and community relations have improved. While this study concludes that there is statistical proof that infrastructure improvements can help decrease violence, it also clearly states that other factors could have influenced the results.

Medellín was lucky to have had a major government infrastructure intervention happen just a year after PREVIVA, the city-wide survey on violence, was conducted. Even without a survey, it will be interesting to see if there are any actual or perceived effects from the 2011 gondola system in Rio de Janeiro, and the proposed system in La Paz.

If you would like to read the full study, it is available here.



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