By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday morning, May 28th, after years of construction due to the new Metro line 4 extension, the Praça Nossa Senhora da Paz (Our Lady of Peace Park) reopened in Ipanema. The gates of the square, which was delivered as directed by the Institute Rio Heritage (IRPH), were opened by the Secretary of State for Transport, Rodrigo Vieira, the president of RioTrilhos, Tatiana Carius, and the president of the RioBarra consortium, Maurício Rizzo.
The Consórcio Linha 4 Sul (Consortium Line 4 South) installed new wooden toys, to replace the old, iron installations. There are new benches and bike racks and the lighting was enhanced. Authorities confirmed the space will now be administered by the City Hall.
Government news sources also report that 75.6 percent of the trees in the square remain intact from before the start of works. The monument to Pinheiro Machado, has been restored and also returned to the original location in the park.
The reopening of the square was possible due to the completion of civil works and finishing Station Nossa Senhora da Paz Line 4 subway services. Now, the metro station continues with the completion of the installation of systems and operational tests.
Transportation Secretary, Rodrigo Vieira, said “The station Nossa Senhora da Paz Line 4 is integrated into the square and at the same time respecting the space, with access to the subway in the outer area [of the park]. The station and the subway system will get along with the square for many generations, allowing people who travel in and around Ipanema, enjoy these benefits made feasible by the state government.”
The new station has two passenger entrances, on the streets Joana Angélica and Maria Quitéria, both at the corner of Rua Visconde de Pirajá. Built to ensure the accessibility of all, there are ramps and lifts in the two accesses. According to the expected demand, 47,000 people will use the Nossa Senhora da Paz Station daily.
Jason Galeria, an American expatriate living in Rio and co-owner of the Blue Agave bar and restaurant in Ipanema shared, “I was thinking yesterday as I walked by., […] in all honesty it came out great. It ended up better than it used to be. I doubted the city, but they came through.”
Charlie Jonas of Rio Exclusive luxury real estate agency explained what it will mean for the surrounding area. “After a few years of ongoing constructions, life for residents surrounding the park will not only be more quiet it will also go back to what it used to be, a social area where children will be able to play again and a commercial area where businesses will see more pedestrians walk by the shops and restaurants.”
In terms of real estate value, Mr. Jonas added, “As a realtors, even though market values are diminishing in 2016, we believe that the opening of the Metro is a great opportunity for investors. It is at the very sought heart of Ipanema, close to all the trendy bars and restaurants and only 15 minutes by metro from the city center.”
Now 95 percent complete, works in the other stations are in final stages of completion. According to the estimated demand, more than 300,000 people a day will use the system once it is fully operational.