In one of the poorest slums in the country, in the city of Medellin, Colombia, the government has put up a series of fancy and expensive outdoor escalators so the slum residents don’t have to walk up and down stairs. I guess using that money to actually give them cheap houses that aren’t rotting, falling apart shacks would have been too obvious.
For generations, the 12,000 residents of Medellin’s tough Comuna 13, which clings to the side of a steep hillside, have had to climb hundreds of large steps authorities say is the same as going up a 28-story building.
Now they can ride an escalator, in what the mayor of Medellin said is the first massive, outdoor public escalator for use by residents of a poor area.
“It turned out very well,” said Mayor Alonso Salazar.
Mr Salazar said officials from Rio de Janeiro plan to visit the Colombian city to see if such an escalator would work in that city’s favelas, which also cling precariously to hillsides. Comuna 13 residents came out to celebrate and study the $6.7 million escalator which officials say will shorten the 35-minute hike on foot up the hillside to six minutes. Use of the escalator is free.
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