Several officials reached agreement on progressing the Alameda-Providencia axis, Santiago’s main road link. The overhaul aims to reduce car traffic while prioritizing public transport and walkability. A first phase already started and should conclude soon.
At a meeting of Chile’s interior minister, the Metropolitan region’s governor, and the mayor of Santiago district Providencia, agreement was reached to advance the Alameda-Providencia infrastructure project.
Avenida Bernardo O’Higgins, also known as Alameda, is Santiago’s main artery.
The project is expected to reduce vehicle traffic but prioritizes public transport. It will also connect four parks and promote walkability.
Governor Claudio Orrego said after the meeting that Plaza Italia’s roundabout, at the heart of the city and a flashpoint during the 2019 social uprising, will be eliminated to create 13,000m2 of green areas, CNN Chile reported. “This space will unite the Bueras, Balmaceda, Forestal and Bustamante parks, and it is expected that this measure will contribute to reducing the use of vehicles by 53 percent.”
La rotonda #PlazaItalia se elimina y se transformará en un espacio público de más de 13 mil m2 que unirá los parques Balmaceda, Forestal y Bustamante: disminuyendo en un 53% el uso de vehículos. #NuevaAlameda pic.twitter.com/aDy0zbvp4k
— Claudio Orrego L. (@Orrego) July 13, 2023
Mayor Evelyn Matthei said the project is ideal for residents who cultivate green areas and gardens. Despite the differences that emerged during the discussion, Matthei said, “we value that they listened to us for a project that will undoubtedly refresh Providencia.”
Interior Minister Carolina Tohá highlighted that the parties involved reached agreement on the country’s biggest urban transformation project.
“The level of deterioration [the current infrastructure] presents is really shameful for a country like Chile. It has suffered abuse and degradation, which could be a response to the way the place has treated people for a long time. In recovering it, we would not only like it to be different after work but also to be maintained differently, so that people feel that taking care of it is something that benefits them every day,” Tohá said.
A first phase involving cleaning 8km of facades along the road is underway and expected to finish in August, Radio Bío Bío reported.
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.