Sunday, August 14

Vigo, the city of Christmas lights … and the “thousand” ramps, belts and mechanical elevators

With its blinding display of led lights —11 million, so many that, as its mayor, Abel Caballero, likes to joke, the jet of light can be appreciate even from the International Space Station—, Vigo is on its way to becoming the new Christmas capital. In competition with Lapland, London, Paris or New York – from where the New York Times already has pulled by the ears to the Galician city for its waste in the fight against climate change—, Vigo struggles to be the “home” of the festivities. So much so that it has even been coined as a slogan.

Before referring to Christmas, however, Vigo was, is and will continue to be the city of slopes, that of the worthy climbs of Lombard Street in San Francisco. Born between mountains and the waters of the Atlantic, the city, on a slope, is not suitable for small calves.

Abel Caballero’s team knows this and that is why for several years it has been dedicating a good pinch of funds – a large part of the European coffers – to revolutionizing its urban mobility. How? Equipping yourself with mechanical devices capable of making slopes more passable. It is not an option. The demographic winter winds blow virulent and cold in the north and, if nothing changes and the forecast is met Galician Statistics Institute (IGE)By 2035, 16% of the population of the Vigo region will be over 75 years of age.

“Vigo Vertical”: a program to circumvent unevenness

The program, dubbed “Vigo Vertical” – a declaration of intent from its very name – is spreading throughout the urban area. a deployment of elevators, belts and escalators. One of the first, an elevator between Pi y Margall and Camelias streets, was activated in 2015 and made it possible to save – collects Faro de Vigo – a drop of 20 meters. After spending several minutes to cover the journey, the people of Vigo started to do it in 45 seconds. And without leaving the taps. Its capacity allows it to move up to 3,000 people every hour.

Part of the mechanical ramp installed by the Vigo City Council in one of its central avenues.

That initiative cost almost half a million euros, but it left such a good taste in the mouth that the City Council decided to apply the same mobility philosophy to other slopes and slopes. Between 2014 and 2015, part of the public escalators that today go up from Porta do Sol, the city’s “kilometer zero”, almost to Plaza del Consistorio.

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Mechanical elevator to save one of the slopes of Vigo.

Six years later, the deployment has multiplied and today the city has almost a dozen stairs, ramps and elevators already active. One of the last is an extensive ribbon of 210 meters which stretches along the boulevard of Gran Vía, one of the main arteries of the Vigo urban area and the axis of its commercial center. The device, accompanied by fountains, led lights and a whole array of trees and bushes, was activated just 12 months ago after almost a year and a half of works and an investment of around 5.2 million euros co-financed by Brussels through ERDF funds. The City Council now wants to extend it for the remainder of the avenue, towards Plaza de España. The work was awarded just a few months ago for, according The Spanish, more than four million.

It will not be the last, of course. “Vigo Vertical” adds up and goes on. He even gets a run. On the table the City Council has another dozen new performances —With its corresponding millionaire investment— to improve accessibility in the city and save unevenness. Sometimes, as with the elevator that will serve the Vialia shopping center, recently opened, it takes advantage of street reforms or the incorporation of infrastructures to install the mechanisms.

Urban Elevator Of The Street Talude Xornal Vigo

Infographic showing one of the projects that will complete the “Vigo Vertical”.

Of all, perhaps the star work is “Halo”, the ambitious urban elevator – two, actually – that serves as the cover for this article and aspires to become one of Vigo’s benchmarks. The structure will pass over the AP-9 motorway and link two neighborhoods now separated by several minutes of walk. According to the plans outlined by the City Council and the writing team, “Halo” will be equipped with a panoramic ring 45 meters high and 90 meters in diameter. During its presentation, Caballero’s team highlighted that it will have four vertical axis wind turbines to power the elevators. Its cost: just over seven million euros.

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Access to the escalators that connect one of the central squares of Vigo with the City Hall.

One more point in Vigo’s race to stand up to the slopes …

And, incidentally, earn points like christmas capital.

Main Image | Vigo City Council

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