By Lauren Vita Sgarlato, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tijuca in Zona Norte (North Zone) may mostly attract tourists for its Floresta da Tijuca (Tijuca National Park), but this bustling bairro has a charm that has drawn a slew of new developments, including a new metro station. Already home to three stops on the subway’s orange line (line 1), soon it will have a fourth, the Estação Uruguai.
This new station, located at the corner of Rua Itacuruçá and Rua Conde de Bonfim, will have a total of five different access points. Theses will run along Rua Conde de Bonfim with definite points at Rua Uruguai and Rua Visconde de Cabo Frio.
Rua Conde de Bonfim is the hub of Tijuca, where you can find almost anything you need, from theaters to banks to churches. Estação Saens Peña, currently the first (or last) stop and 35 minutes from Ipanema, is also located on Rua Conde de Bonfim and will be 1,100 meters away from the new station.
Estação Uruguai will be the first air-conditioned station in Rio, acclimatized by season, will have a platform door system, and it will span 7,000 square meters with two levels. Approximately R$220 million has reportedly gone into this project.
Saens Peña Square currently attracts a lot of traffic congestion, but this will change in the future as bus stops integrated with Estação Saens Peña will be transferred to Estação Uruguai. It is estimated that 20,000 people will benefit from this expansion.
“I think the new station is especially good for the elderly, who will no longer have to walk such a long distance,” said Victor Barbosa Farias, a worker at the site who feels his job is worth the effort.
While this expansion is a positive one, residents started complaining several months ago about the noise coming from the developing station. Cranes, trucks, generators, and workers are on duty from 7:30AM to 8PM, seven days a week.
Since the opening of Rio’s metrô system in 1979, it has not stopped growing. It began as a 2.67 mile track of five stations in the downtown area. Today, belonging to Grupo Inovar, there are a total of 35 stations throughout the city.
The construction of Estação Uruguai is part of a R$1.15 billion investment from Metrô Rio, undertaken by the state government. With this investment, since 2007 Metrô Rio has built line 2, Estação Cidade Nova, modernized the Traffic Control Center and bought nineteen new trains.
The Metrô Rio is continuing to expand and modernize signaling systems, ventilation and energy. With these tactics, they aim to accommodate double the amount of riders to 1.1 million per day.
As for the effect on Tijuca, it represents one more step in a blooming neighborhood. Resident Tijucano Ricardo Saraiva Ferreira describes: “Over the past 25 years, Tijuca has grown from a battlefield of crime to an efficient, friendly place that I am happy to call home.”