Published On: August 3, 2013

Jaime Lerner’s Dream

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City Hall is considering a proposal for a Light Wheeled Vehicle (VLP), which was designed by architect, urban planner, and former mayor of Curitiba, Jaime Lerner. The VLP is a vehicular transport system that would run solely on electricity. City Hall’s proposal states the budget at R$950 million for the project.

The VLP project hopes to take advantage of the more than 30 kilometers of railway lines now available. Unfortunately, the implementation proposal of the VLP would demand the most resources of all the urban mobility initiatives presented this week by the city of Curitiba to the Ministry of Planning. Additionally, it is the only one without a Master Plan.

Mayor Gustavo Fruet (PDT) said that if the federal government gives the go-ahead, the basic plan for the VLP will be sent to Brasilia within two months. He explained that Lerner’s architectural firm is spearheading the proposal in order to assist the administration’s search for transportation alternatives for the city. The VLP project was originally to be presented in August, but the idea was pushed forward because of public debate about urban mobility in Brazil. “Ever since I took office, Jaime Lerner has been available for consultation. He’s a big advocate of the BRT” (dedicated bus line system), said the mayor

The VLP is entirely electric without overhead powerlines. In phase one, it would connect the Cachoeira neighborhood with downtown Curitiba. The second phase involves connecting downtown to Avenida Marechal Floriano Peixoto. Each phase would have separate budgets of R$450 million and R$500 million, respectively. Once both phases have been completed, the VLP will have a transport capacity of 260,000 people per day.

According to the Curitiba Institute for Research and Urban Planning (IPPUC), the possibility exists that Lerner’s office may donate the Master Plan to the city. “I have never refused to collaborate with mayors who have sought me out. I like the idea that a VLP team is developing,” Lerner said. For the former governor, the VLP represents an excellent solution for progress in urban mobility, independent of the subway. “This is a broader alternative to the subway that better serves the city’s needs,” asserts Lerner.

According to Fruet, the VLP proposal does not require expropriation of the railway line nor would it be a detriment in any way to the rail system. Thus, it would not draw objections from America Latina Logistica (ALL), which controls the railway line.

One of the other urban mobility projects provides for the revamping of bus routes in Curitiba to expand services like the Ligeirão. The project will require upgrading of bus lanes as well as the renovation and construction of new bus terminals to expand the line to 27.7 km and a total of 52 stations with a capacity of 460,000 passengers per day.

Meanwhile, the Third Beltway project plans for the upgrading of single lane roads on the periphery of Curitiba that make up a 61.3 km circuit. This project will benefit the Interbairros III and IV bus lines as well as the Santa Candida-Santa Felicidade feeder line and reduce traffic in downtown Curitiba. The Third Beltway project is budgeted for R$208.7 million.

In order to complete the Green Line, the City has introduced a bill that provides exclusive express bus channels in the Northern Section, between the Tarumã viaduct and the Atuba neighborhood, and also along the CIC-South Line, between Isaac Ferreira da Cruz street and the South Curitiba Bypass (Contorno Sul). This project has been budgeted at R$ 321.3 million.

The other proposals brought by City Hall, together with the VLP, are budgeted at R$5.3 billion (about US$2.5 billion).

Below is a graphic illustrating the VLP proposal:

[This article first appeared in different format on the Gazeto do Povo website on July 12. It was written by Antoniele Luciano and translated and edited by CIE.]

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