So, here are two articles on Rio’s newest transportation solution, the sky ride, geared towards preparation for the 2014 world cup and 2016 olympic games, both hosted in Rio de Janeiro. My opinion was that this was an interesting and probably very intelligent strategy to circumvent the obvious issues of safety when hosting an infiltration of foreign tourists in a city that can at times appear to be a civil war zone. Let’s just hope those gondolas are bulletproof….
Rio de Janeiro’s Transit Solution: Cable Cars Over the Favelas
The slums of Rio de Janeiro—the infamous favelas—pile onto and up and over the city’s iconic steep hillsides. Simply getting from point A to point B requires a sub-alphabet of zigzaggery up stairs, over switchbacks, and through alleyways that can be just a few feet wide. There’s nowhere for public transit to go. Nowhere, that is, but up.
That’s the direction for the newest transportation system in Rio, slated to open in March: a six-station gondola line running above a collection of favelas known as the Complexo do Alemão. The government says that 152 gondolas will carry 30,000 people a day along a 2.1-mile route over the neighborhood, transforming the hour-and-a-half trudge to a nearby commuter rail station into a 16-minute sky ride.
Spending $74 million for this kind of imagineering may sound a little wacky, but in recent years Medellín and Caracas have also built gondolas for underserved areas. Jorge Mario Jáuregui, the architect behind Rio’s system, says the project has real and symbolic value—”real because the connection has been built, and symbolic because it makes the informal city part of the formal city.” Still, in the favelas—where there’s no running water or sewers and a street battle between police and drug gangs killed dozens last year—perhaps flying cable cars shouldn’t be a top priority.
Then again, sanitation and safety might not be the problems that Rio officials want to solve. With the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics coming to town, making the favelas look like a theme park could convey just the right impression.
Brazil Brings Carny-Grade Transit to 2016 Olympics
Rio De Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Olympic Games, and – like many Olympic host cities – is working hard to finish a number of civic construction projects in a bid to put its best foot forward when it meets the international crowds that always follow the Games. Many of those projects will be all-new architectural triumphs plastered with Petrobras logos, but at least one project will be immediately familiar to fair-going Americans the instant they see it: the sky ride!
The first of these “permanent” electric cable-car transit systems was inaugurated into service last Thursday by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and members of the project’s design team from Alemao PAC, who hope to provide the residents on the outskirts of the city with easy transit to the games’ stadiums and touristy-infrastructure, making it easier for members of the outlying communities (usually lower-income neighborhoods) to have access to the new job opportunities the Games are expected to bring to Rio. This line will service the 120,000 residents of Alemao with 152 composite-bodied cabin cars, each capable of transporting ten people between six stations for a combined rate of over three thousand passengers per hour.
Let’s face it: commuting sucks, but sky-rides are super-awesome (as is any transit system that’s clean, efficient, and relatively immune to the sort of traffic jams caused by minor accidents and throngs of rubber-necking busy-bodies jabbering away on cell phones about how bad the traffic is we seem to get in the US), and if it seems like I’m making snarky comments about this being “carny-grade” technology, keep in mind that I (like many Americans) have nothing but great memories surrounding the county fairs and theme parks I’ve seen these in. Besides that, the Brazilians do have a certain sense of style that somehow eluded the traveling carnivals of North America.
Read More Via Gas 2.0