Tram Is Proposed Alternative Solution To Transportation In The GAMFrom: www.insidecostarica.com
The integration of transport networks of buses and intercity railways, as well as a new urban development model that promotes the mobility of people in the greater metropolitan area of San José (GAM), are some of the proposals currently being discussed in the country.
Experts at Incofer and PRUGAM exposed some of the initiatives during the II Forum “Movilidad Urbana GAM: Planificación y avances concretos” (GAM Urban Mobility: Planning and concrete progress) organized by the Comisión de Construcción Sostenible el Colegio de Ingenieros Civiles (Commission on Sustainable Construction College of Civil Engineers) which was held on July 20th , in the Auditorium of LANAMME at the University of Costa Rica UCR.
For architect and researcher Oliver Schütte urban models must be developed to meet the needs of people and enable mobility in the city. To this end, the PRUGAM conducted a study of cultural mapping, to characterize today’s urban culture and identify ways in which people perceive and use of GAM space.
The study included the districts of Tacares, Alajuela, Pozos, Asuncion, San Felipe and the four central districts of San José.
Satellite images show highly fragmented developments of new urban areas in relation to the nuclei or old villages; while there are opinions of people providing information on security issues, odors, noise and other factors that affect them.
Schutte explained that from this information, you can define the main points of congestion at the entrances to downtown San José and insecure areas. To solve this problem, the PRUGAM proposes the creation of compact, multifunctional centers and different models of urban densification that could be used in San José, generating means of connections to urban centers.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Mata Brenes former director of PRUGAM explained that the Metropolitan Area has been coveted with a model of irrational and unsustainable urban development, as it contains less than 4% of national territory, with a population that represents 50% of the national population.
Faced with the problem of mobilization in the urban areas, the PRUGAM proposes a mass transit system under the concept of road connectivity. The idea is to integrate the public transport network of buses and intercity railways, in order to generate a type of a habitable and safer city.
This initiative will integrate 27 projects in transport and viability priority areas and would cost US$1.8 billion dollars and would be implemented gradually to achieve integration of the different routes and modes of transport. The proposal suggests moving from a fragmented operation and radial routes to cross paths.
To help solve the problem of congestion in the GAM, the train is one of the most attractive alternatives.
Miguel Carabaguiaz, CEO of Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer) presented the draft of a commuter train that would connect cities like Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia and San José, using the railroad right of way on a rail mass transit with bidirectional sections.
The train would pass through 51 districts, 13 counties and cover a route of 75 kilometers. With its implementation it would benefit about 767.000 inhabitants and 383.000 potential users that must pass through San José.
The route passes by hospitals, universities, stadiums, shopping centers, industrial areas and public institutions, which is ideal for users.
To carry out this plan, the Incofer suggests the use of the tram-train, a modern electric powered train, which can operate as a tram system or a rail system in rural areas or in the suburbs.
To start the operation of the commuter train requires an investment of US$250 million dollars.
Carabaguiaz announced that the project is supported by the Spanish Government and two Spanish public companies, which will begin with the confirmation of technical studies and use and demand studies that should be ready later this year.
The Costa Rican government now needs to decide how it will finance the project.
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