Solving Urban Transportation’s Last-Mile Problem

City Monitor‘s article on Vigo, Spain’s recently installed moving walks came at an opportune time. Covered in this month’s issue of ELEVATOR WORLD, the Project of the Year winner “Mechanical Ramp of Gran Via Vigo” saw thyssenkrupp Elevadores S.L.U. install six top-of-the-line moving walks to transport up to 7,300 people/h. The rest of the story, it seems, include six more new outdoor moving walks, with a further dozen to come this year.

One of the six other escalators not mentioned in the EW Project of the Year 2021-winning article “Mechanical Ramp of Gran Via Vigo”

The article offers an interesting history of public escalators and elevators, which it calls “the most popular daily form of mass transit, used by over a billion people each day.” With more and more heavy-duty outdoor vertical-transportation equipment, Vigo is fast becoming a model for accessible urban last-mile excellence.

Vigo has playfully colorful public elevators, too.

Tallest Ride

The new escalator; image from Reddit via City Pages

Every human endeavor has its superlatives: the best, the fastest, the strongest. Whether we’re talking about athletic competition, academic achievement or technological advancement, somebody always seeks to hold up an accomplishment as an aspirational example. This is no less true of the vertical-transportation industry. To wit: The Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport recently completed work on what it says is the new tallest escalator in Minnesota. City Pages notes that it was built over the summer of 2020, along with a new parking ramp at the airport’s Terminal 1. Some facts:

Length: 118 ft

Height: 55 ft, 2 in, or about five stories

Speed: 100 ft/min

Capacity: 9,000 passengers/h

Travel time: 75 s

The airport says its new escalator surpasses the state’s previous record holder, the 47-ft-tall moving stairs at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. While the new parking ramp and escalator were not immediately needed, thanks to the pandemic-related travel slowdown, this new machine stands ready for large crowds as passenger traffic rebounds.

You can watch a video of the installation and use below:

Are We There Yet?

You may remember Schutz as the artist whose painting we featured on the cover of EW, November 2017.

If you’re like most of us in the U.S., you’re sick of hearing about the upcoming presidential election. Some, however, get caught up in the moment. That may explain how Dana Schutz’s “Trump Descending an Escalator,” which depicts his June 16, 2015, glitzy announcement to run for president (as reported by The Guardian), sold for GBP550,000 (US$711,774), according to HYPERALLERGIC. With the auction having taken place on October 20, the timing is probably not coincidental, considering the election date of November 3.

Commenting on the 88- X 75-in. canvas painting, Schutz explained: “I wanted to get that moment of suspense, when you know something is going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. In real life, he looks so dumpy, like a refrigerator. I’m happy with how the face turned out, kind of like a mask, with something guarded but threatening about it. He’s coming down, taking us to lower levels of everything.” 

If the Brooklyn-based artist is voting this year, it’s safe to say it’s not for the incumbent.

Dana Schutz, “Trump Descending an Escalator” (2017); image courtesy of Phillips via HYPERALLERGIC