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.

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

Celebrating a Milestone

With the hashtag #TBT (throwback Thursday), the University of North Carolina Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture posted on Instagram this photo of Gray, left, with now-retired architecture professor John Nelson, in the Arts Quad in 1999.
Gray

The University of North Carolina Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture has joined ELEVATOR WORLD in celebrating a milestone for Dr. Lee Gray — the publication of his 200th EW article, “The First Elevator in the Texas State Capitol, Part One,” which appears in this month’s issue. Gray, a professor of Architectural History and senior associate dean, joined the faculty at UNCC in 1992 and, according to an April 2 post on the Arts + Architecture Instagram page, “decided it was time to write a book. Asking himself, ‘What’s going to be the most fun?’ he landed on his topic: elevators.” It was in 2003 that he became an EW correspondent, penning monthly history columns (with occasional other pieces), and, according to the post, has since become the “ONLY fulltime elevator historian in the WORLD.” As such, he is the go-to answer man — if the question is “elevators” — for numerous national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The History Channel, National Geographic and PBS, to name a few. In a reply to the post, EW’s Instagram congratulated Gray, adding, “Our magazine wouldn’t be the same without his contributions. We look forward to his Escalator History book in 2021!” Faithful EW readers don’t have to wait that long for more from Gray, however — he’ll have another article in May’s issue, and for June he will be the subject of our popular “10 Questions” feature.