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NO to the road, yes to Life! No to the construction of the Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente (ALO)

NO to the road, yes to Life! No to the construction of the Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente (ALO)


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By Jennifer Cruz Hernández and Camilo Andrés Julio Vergara

The Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente (ALO) will pass over the wetlands: Guaymaral, Capellanía, Torca, Tibabuyes (Juan Amarillo) and Conejera, affecting not only the hundreds of endemic and migratory species that inhabit these ecosystems, but also the 3,200 .000 inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods, since as it is well known, the wetland acts like a sponge that absorbs water in the rainy season, so its destruction is causing floods, diseases, epidemics and pollution, which add to catastrophes natural generated by the bad planning of the territory in the country.


What is the project about?

The construction of the Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente is a project that is presented within the conception of the city under the neoliberal policies that are being projected for Bogotá, thought as a great metropolis of services, which makes the planning of its territory take carried out following the laws of the market and for the benefit of private investors, above the social rights of its inhabitants and the care of the few ecosystems that remain.

This project dates back 30 years, planned as a large private highway that allows the movement of goods and consumers on a large scale in the shortest possible time, leaving the city from South to North, from the municipality of Soacha, to later penetrate in the metropolitan area through the towns of Bosa, Kennedy, Fontibón, Engativá and Suba and finally ending in the extreme north at La Caro station in the Municipality of Chía (1).

The ALO is integrated into other megaprojects (Master Plans) of great impact for the city, such as the expansion of the El Dorado Airport to maximize international merchandise trade, the Bogotá-Girardot highway concession that will accelerate the transportation of products from the Regions towards the capital, in addition to the free zones built on the outskirts of the city and the surrounding municipalities, designed as large warehouses and factories of products for national and world trade.

Who will benefit from the project?

The discourse that is sold with the construction of the ALO is that the inhabitants of strata 1, 2 and 3 will benefit from it, since the mobility of the city will be improved, an approach that is not valid, since it is intended to be carried out under the model of an “open tunnel (2)” type of road, where the accesses that allow it to connect with other areas of the city are very limited, in order to maximize access facilities and longitudinal movement of trucks in the city, since it is a corridor towards different municipalities of Cundinamarca, also as the district and the nation do not have resources to build it, they will allow the entry of private capital, which demands that it provide economic benefits to investors allowing it to be the first highway with the remote toll system, a fact that privatizes its access to people who can pay for circulation for it (3).


Contrary to the idea that it sells, this avenue will only benefit large national and world entrepreneurs, since they will have a wide corridor where they can improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the commercialization of their products, in addition to the possibility of removing materials at a higher speed. premiums exploited in the regions of the country.

It provides economic benefits to the owners of the free zones (of which a good part are owned by the sons of former president Álvaro Uribe Vélez), since it improves their commercial position, establishing themselves as the points where all the products of the region are stored. central, which enter the national and world market.

Those entrepreneurs who invest in the ALO will benefit from the profits collected from the tolls that this avenue collects, since most of the products that enter and leave the capital will have to circulate through it.

Finally, those Colombians who are "well" owners of two or three private vehicles will benefit, who will have at their disposal a fast and modern avenue, built for those who can pay a daily toll and need to easily cross the city in an hour.

What will be the impact of the project?

The social fabric of the neighborhoods through which the avenue intends to pass will be destroyed, since it will divide the western part of the city into two areas, with four 100-meter wide roads, preventing communication between the residents of the neighborhoods. that has minimal interconnection spaces, increasingly individualizing life in the city.

An unprecedented environmental catastrophe is being generated, as this avenue will pass over the wetlands: Guaymaral, Capellanía, Torca, Tibabuyes (Juan Amarillo) and Conejera, affecting not only the hundreds of endemic and migratory species that inhabit these ecosystems, but also also to the 3,200,000 inhabitants of the neighboring neighborhoods, since as it is well known, the wetland acts like a sponge that absorbs water in the rainy season, so its destruction is causing floods, diseases, epidemics and pollution, which are they add to the natural catastrophes generated by the bad planning of the territory in the country.

It is to the detriment of rural populations still present in the district, such as the Vereda de chorrillos in the town of Suba, because it exacerbates urbanization, contributing to the exclusion of peasants and increasing poverty levels.

It negatively impacts the right to democratic participation and territorial planning under the consultation of the communities, since it is carried out without taking into account the real needs of the inhabitants of the popular neighborhoods of Bogotá.

What have the communities been doing to cope with the project?

A series of organizations are emerging, we are making demands at the legal level because this project violates the RAMSAR treaty, which protects wetlands, in addition to national environmental laws, in order to revoke the permits illegitimately granted by the Ministry of the Environment and the CAR.

In turn, various community awareness actions are carried out such as: mobilizations, popular education processes, cultural expressions (theater, music, etc.) within the framework of the campaign “For an eco-road alternative no to ALO ”, Where the realization of a road network is contemplated, which really solves the mobility problems of the inhabitants of the popular neighborhoods of the city, without affecting the ecosystems, in addition to using the properties already purchased by the District for the construction of environmental classrooms, state ecological museums and parks that allow the development of a dignified life within the communities.

Jennifer Cruz Hernández and Camilo Andrés Julio Vergara
COLECTIVO SUBA NATIVA, Suba - Bogotá - Colombia

References:

(1) NATIONAL PLANNING DEPARTMENT, CONPES Document 3433 Construction and maintenance Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente - ALO, Ministry of Finance, Bogotá, 2006.

(2) Ibid.

(3) The Avenida Longitudinal de Occidente will be a reality in Bogotá only if there are private resources, In: Caracol Radio, Noticia: October 10, 2008. http://www.caracol.com.co/nota.aspx?id=687976


Video: Así vamos a solucionar la movilidad en nuestra ciudad #RecuperemosBogotá (June 2022).


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