Friday, October 14, 2016

A New Landmark Rises - for Better or Worse

The Torre Bacatá dominates the skyline in this view from La Candelaria.
Calle 19, in front of the Bacatá,
is already congested and chaotic.
The new Torre Bacatá, in downtown, adds a new landmark - and new problems, which the city appears not to have prepared for. Generally, it's good to build downtown, which limits urban sprawl and its compounding traffic troubles. But the 260-meter tall Bacatá, which will be the tallest building in Colombia and the second-tallest in South America, will cause huge troubles in its neighborhood.

The adjoining streets are already chaotic and congested, and this new mini-city will compound that. The Bacatá will contain offices, luxury apartments, a hotel and a shopping mall. And there's little open space, and no green space nearby. How about the quality of life for the residents of this new superstructure and those living nearby?

20th Street, behind the Bacatá:
narrow and already busy.
If I were the unfortunate person in charge of this city, I'd have said: 'Sure, go ahead and build, but you also have to help fund light rail lines on Calle 19 and Carrera Septima, as well as a public park nearby.' Fortunately for me, I'm not in charge.

Carrera 5, on the tower's eastern side, is narrow and pepetually traffic-jammed.
What will cars and trucks entering and leaving this garage on 19th do to traffic?
The only nearby public area is Las Nieves Plaza, the haunt of prostitutes, alcoholics and drug addicts.
Bogotá's skyline, and the Bacatá, seen from near the Central Cemetery on 26th St.
Bacatá, with dramatic architecture.

In a nod toward public space, the Bacatá provided this wide sidewalk on Calle 19.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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