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Colombian city gets giant, outdoor escalator

People use outdoor escalators, newly installed at Comuna 13 shantytown as part of an urbanization plan to improve living conditions of residents, in Medellin, Colombia, Dec. 26, 2011. People use outdoor escalators, newly installed at Comuna 13 shantytown as part of an urbanization plan to improve living conditions of residents, in Medellin, Colombia, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Luis Benavides)
December 26, 2011
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BOGOTA, Colombia—Officials in Colombia's second-largest city have inaugurated a giant, outdoor escalator for residents of one of its poorest neighborhoods.

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 Medellin's mayor says is the first massive, outdoor public escalator for use by residents of a poor area.

Cesar Hernandez, head of projects for Medellin, said the electric stairway is divided into six sections and has a length of 384 meters. An escalator goes up and a second goes down. Authorities plan to build a covering for inclement whether.

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