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.
The escalator will certainly make the residents’ lives easier, along with that of the police on the beat.
However, I would also be glad to hear that free market measures, including property rights and the legal structures that support them, rule of law and less bureaucracy and corruption, were granted in Colombia, Brazil, and throughout Latin America. Now, that would be an escalator out of poverty!
Read Hernando de Soto’s books, for more on property rights for the poor.
Of course, one thinks of Stairway to Heaven, which has nothing to do with the news, other than the title,
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