Mobility Innovation: Outdoor Escalator In Medellin

March 2, 2014 | By | 8 Replies More
Escaleras eléctricas in   Comuna 13, Medellin

Escaleras eléctricas in Comuna 13, Medellin

Prior to living in Medellin I read the news about innovation happening in the city with improving mobility and learned that one of the poorest neighborhoods got an outdoor escalator. It’s actually free to use. The climb is about 1,260 feet or 28 stories high. The escalator cuts the walking time down from 35 to 6 minutes.

One Sunday morning, my Colombian friends and I went to Comuna 13 to see it for ourselves. There was talk amongst my friends and locals whether installing the escalator was money well spent. After all, the project cost around $7 million dollars. Does it really serve the community or was it just a big PR scheme to promote the city? We didn’t see too many people use it on a Sunday. During our visit, there were locals who surveyed us to see if we thought that the escalator really benefited the residents. Either way, it peeked our interest to check it out.

The view from the top of the outdoor escalators.

The view from the top of the outdoor escalators.

Comuna 13 was once one of the most violent neighborhoods in Medellin. When I went with my friends, it felt safe during the day. The escalators are well maintained and clean. The vibe was calm and kids were happily playing outside. There was security who patrolled each level.

Looking up at the escalators.

Looking up at the escalators.

Safety instructions on how to use the escalators.

Safety instructions on how to use the escalators.

In order to prepare the residents of Comuna 13 on how to use the escalator, the city organized trips to nearby shopping malls so they can practice. Instructions on the escalator serve as a reminder on how to use them.

Garbage and recycle bins at the escalators.

Garbage and recycle bins at the escalators.

Murals beautify the walkways near the escalators.

Murals beautify the walkways near the escalators.

Outdoor escalator, Medellin

Outdoor escalator in Medellin, Colombia

How To Get To Outdoor Escalator In Medellin

The journey to the escalators is easy. Depending on where you are coming from in the city, it could take about a hour on the Metro from Poblado or 40 – 45 minutes from San Antonio station downtown.

San Javier Metro Station.

San Javier Metro Station.

Take the Metro on Linea B to San Javier station. It’s the last stop on the line. Exit the station and turn right to look for buses.

Bus 221i

Bus 221i

Get on bus 221i. Confirm with the driver to make sure that the bus goes to the escaleras electricas. Things might change from the time of this post, so ask just to be sure. This is the bus my friends and I took. We bought an integrado ticket which includes the bus fare to the top of the escalators and a one-way metro ride for $2250 COP. We hopped in a cab to head back to the Metro station afterwards.

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Category: Things to do

Comments (8)

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  1. Denise says:

    Good Stuff, Mig!

  2. Matt says:

    Great Post! Hope you are doing well and look forward to following your life everyday on this blog.

    Take Care!

  3. Jojo DelaCruz says:

    Interesting read Mig! $7 Mil for an escalator?! Wow. The money might have been spent better elsewhere but it may have advantages for those who may be disabled in that area. I just hope they don’t take after us lazy Americans and gain weight due to using it everyday and not exercising! Haha.

    • Mig says:

      The security guy we met that day mentioned that each step cost $500 USD. The escalators do help since cars or buses can’t go up that high on the hill in Comuna 13, but for the amount of money spent versus the number of people who actually use it, not sure.

  4. Adam bomb says:

    Like the pictures. When you first spoke of the escalator I thought it was straight up non-stop. Makes sense with the photos.

    And yes I am human.

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