28-Story Escalator Opens in Colombia [Video]

A new 28-story escalator in Colombia’s second largest city has set a world record as the world’s longest outdoor escalator, and has improved the life quality of thousands of people in the process.

However, this mega electric stairway hasn’t been built in a futuristic casino or a glitzy mall. Instead, this $6.7 million behemoth was constructed in the Comuna 13 neighborhood of Medellin, Colombia – one of the poorest and most violent areas of the city.

The escalator is divided into six sections and has been built against a steep hillside, leaving residents of Comuna 13 overjoyed. Whereas previously people would spend 35 minutes climbing hundreds of steps to scale the hill, the new escalator takes only six minutes to scale 1,260 feet – and all for free. Best of all, there’s a second escalator for the downhill journey as well. Nice!

This week saw residents take their inaugural journey on the new stairway, and for once they could relax and enjoy the scenic view overlooking Medellin. Officials in the city are hoping the escalator will help quash the violent reputation of the area, and turn the neighborhood into a source of national pride.

And they just might be on to something. Already it’s been reported that officials from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have booked a trip to see (and possibly mimic) the escalator. Here’s hoping things work out – the only way is up, Comuna 13! (I’m here all week).

Here’s a video of the escalator in action, complete with chuffed citizens:

[Via Time]