The Colombia transit-oriented development (TOD) NAMA has recently expanded to encompass a fourth city. Monteria, a city of 400,000, is located along the Sinú River near the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Ambitious plans to “re-inhabit” the city’s historic central area are being refined with the technical support of CIUDAT, the NAMA supported center for transit-oriented development. CIUDAT is located within FINDETER’s new sustainable urban development section, the Jefatura de gestion urbana integral.
CIUDAT’s team of urban development, transportation, environment, social and finance experts recently visited Monteria, where they met with staff from the Mayor’s Office and the Planning and Infrastructure Department of the municipality. They reviewed a number of projects that are part of the current administration’s Vive el Centro initiative which aims to transform the historical center by recovering public space, enhancing cultural infrastructure and reinforcing formal commerce. This area is bounded on the west by the Ronda de Sinú, a verdant riverside park containing not only art museums, sculpture gardens and promenades, but troops of monkey’s and colourful iguanas. Commercial streets leading to the park are filled with stores and informal vendors. Yet, although 90% of the population of Monteria lived in the center in decades past, today the human population empties out after 6 pm.
Some of the projects being considered to spark a renaissance include construction of new parks (Parque y Paseo de los Libros and Parque Monteria Moderna) and restoring the marketplace at the Mercado de Cuatro Patios. Renovation and redesign of street corridors along 36th and 35th streets, which lead to the river, and 2nd Avenue, parallel to the river park, are also part of the city’s plans. This would be coordinated with strategic public transportation improvements on 4th and 5th streets and a new public river transport system to draw visitors to the area from up and downstream.
CIUDAT discussed how to incorporate TOD principles into these projects that would promote private investment and lead to complete neighborhoods where residents could safely live, work, shop and play. FINDETER will provide technical assistance and financial assistance for feasibility studies and detailed design as needed, and then structure subsidy packages for financing construction.
Because much of the initiative is already in an advanced stage of planning, with FINDETER’s cooperation Monteria could see projects begin as soon as September of 2019.