After the inauguration of the first aeromóvel (elevated train) in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2013, Canoas is the first city to count the vehicle as an alternative form of public transport. Earlier this month, the city of Canoas and the Ministry of Cities signed a contract that allows bidding for section 1 of the aeromóvel, which will link the Mathias Train station to the April 17 Avenue in the Guajuviras neighborhood. The start of construction is planned for the first half of 2015, with completion in 2016.
The first step will be completing the 5.9 km track that should serve about 60 thousand passengers per day. The cost of section 1 will be $287 million. Of this total, US$272 million will be financed with funds from the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC) for medium-sized Cities, initiated by the federal government, which will provide an additional $15 million from municipalities. The aeromóvel in Canoas will also feature two more lines. Section 2 will be 4.8 km long and will connect the Old Mathias Station to the street of Rio Grande do Sul, in the same neighborhood.
The system already stretches three kilometers from the Farroupilha and Boqueirão avenues in the Igara neighborhood, to the Praça do Avião, located downtown. The Ministry of Cities has also designated $9 million for project design of sections 2 and 3, which still do not have the foresight to get off the ground. The city estimates that the entire project will cost approximately $800 million.
The mayor, Jairo Jorge, points out that 70% of the city's public transportation currently serves residents of the Mathias Velho and Guajuviras neighborhoods. "We will improve and expand public transport to a 70% usage rate, and build a sustainable, clean, comfortable and low-impact form of transportation which does not interfere with traffic," he says.
The locations of the aeromóvel paths were chosen while taking into account the locations of the city with the highest demand for public transport. The Guajuviras and Mathias Velho neighborhoods have a combined 150,000 inhabitants. Euclides Coimbra, Deputy Secretary of the Municipal Transport and Mobility Authority for Canoes, estimates that users of aeromóvel will be able to make the journey between the two districts in about 12 minutes. By bus, it takes around 30 minutes. "Residents will have much greater mobility compared to today," he predicts. According to Coimbra, the fare will be the same for the city bus, currently costing R$2.75.
Among the potential beneficiaries of the vehicle is Marcelle Oliveira, a resident of the Guajuviras neighborhood. "It'll be much easier to take the aeromóvel and commute to the center of the city," he says. According to him, the bus lines that intersect with the neighborhood are very slow. Moreover, the second section of the aeromóvel will facilitate access to the Hospital Emergency Room for Canoes, located in the Mathias Velho neighborhood.
In early October, the City of Canoas also presented the project to the Executive for Train Regulation. The aeromóvel aims to unify the center of the city, which is separated by the existing railway line and constant traffic, in order to provide the population with spaces for leisure. For this project, the federal government has provided $6 million for resources used in the preparation of the executive project. Now, the city intends to seek funds from the Growth Acceleration Program 3 (PAC 3) for execution, which depends on the re-election of the current government.
The budget of the project is $400 million. The project includes the creation of a bus corridor, terrace integration, movement of pedestrians, car parking and public transportation access near the new station of the Trensurb Center. Due to the downgrade, the Canoes/La Salle station will be underground. "During the dictatorship, the Berlin Wall was arbitrarily set, separating the two sides of the city. At the time (when the existing railway was built), Canoas had not yet elected a mayor and ended up subordinating to what occurred," laments Jairo Jorge.
With the arrival of the aeromóvel, the Mayor of Canoas believes the flow of vehicles on the BR-116 will improve. "Vehicles will stop using the BR-116 to pass from one side to another in the city. This will greatly improve mobility and traffic," he says. The work will facilitate highway crossing from one side to the other in the city center, with several possibilities for conversion, plus new access between Avenida Dr. Barcellos and Araça Street.
What kind of alternative transportation has your city invested in?
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
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