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Old May 25th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #1
hkskyline
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SANTO DOMINGO | Public Transport

Digging its president's Manhattan roots, the Dominican Republic builds a subway
25 May 2007

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - You want some New York with your tropical breezes? Try the jackhammering, traffic-snarling mess that someday will be the Caribbean's first subway.

The streets of this capital city are being ripped up because President Leonel Fernandez, raised in Manhattan, dreams of remaking it into a "little New York." The subway project fits perfectly so far: It's loud, controversial and over budget.

Critics say he's wasting a fortune in a nation of 9.2 million beset with poverty, hunger and electrical shortages.

But Fernandez, the son of a single mother who worked two jobs to support her children on Manhattan's Upper West Side, says his plan will help bring prosperity.

Some 600,000 Dominicans live in and around the Big Apple -- the biggest piece of a diaspora that sends billions of dollars to family in the Dominican Republic each year.

Fernandez, 54, was brought to New York when he was a boy, part of a wave of Dominicans who fled during a turbulent time under dictator Rafael Trujillo, through his 1961 assassination and a subsequent U.S. invasion.

After school, Fernandez played basketball and delivered groceries near his home at West 95th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. But his mother, despite working as both a nurse's aide and in a factory, found that she could not support both her boys and sent Leonel at age 17 to live with relatives in Santo Domingo.

He became active in politics, first as a student and then climbing the ranks of the Dominican Liberation Party. Now, as president, he believes he can keep families from emigrating in the first place.

"Don't leave for New York, because we are going to bring New York here," he told The Associated Press.

In many ways, Gotham's already here.

Taxi drivers wear New York Yankees caps as they cut each other off, leaning on their horns and cussing in English and Spanish. They drive past corner stores named "Bar New York" and a deli that hawks bagels. Cable TV carries WABC, a New York City channel. "Elena," an old merengue song about an illegal migrant struggling in the Bronx, remains hugely popular.

Fernandez has brought in police from New York and New Jersey to train Dominican officers. He built a think tank that promotes closer U.S.-Dominican relations, with one branch off the new train and another near New York's Grand Central Station.

But the big dream is the subway. The first 9-mile, 16-station segment is planned to open before Fernandez faces an election next May. Within 10 years, planners say they'll get almost 1 million riders a day.

The budget line is soaring. Under planners' original per-mile estimates, the new line would have cost $464 million, according to the newspaper Clave Digital.

Officials now say it will cost at least $710 million -- more than 2 percent of the Dominican Republic's gross domestic product. At least one Dominican geologist said even that estimate could end up doubling.

Loans from Europe have helped pay contractors including Siemens, Alstom and French track-layer TSO, said Leonel Carrasco, sub-director of the department overseeing construction. Other funding has come from a tax hike.

Popular ridicule is rising with the cost.

A local band, La Krema, has slammed the project. In one song, the group raps about food shortages and electrical blackouts that plague this city while a backup singer mocks: "But we've got a Metro!"

Cache Flores, a 37-year-old shoeshiner who lives across a river from the first line, says "it would be better to spend all that money on something that helps everyone, like more buses."

Others hope it will ease traffic, cut pollution and be affordable. Officials have not yet set fares, but Carrasco acknowledged they will have to remain around the 30-cent fare Dominicans now pay in the run-down group taxis that choke Santo Domingo's streets.

"All (subways) are controversial, because all of them are very expensive," said Robert Puentes, a fellow with the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. But, he added, "It's a very bold national investment which could have payoffs for the nation as a whole."

If the subway line is finished on time and alleviates congestion and smog, Fernandez will be a hero. But if there are problems, he may receive a resounding Bronx cheer as the voters escort him from office.

------

Associated Press Writer Ramaris Albert contributed to this report from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #2
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Great to see that Santo Domingo is planning a subway! Its really been growing & booming. A million daily riders, well that sounds a bit high! A few hundred thousand riders would be more than OK.

With San Juan's Tren Urbano in operation, maybe Havana, which needs better public transport the most, might join the list of Caribbean cities with subways.
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Old July 12th, 2007, 04:25 PM   #3
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And Santiago?

And what about the new tramway in Santiado (RD)? Is it true that it's going ahead? Who is going to build it? Is there any money?
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Old August 1st, 2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PePi View Post
And what about the new tramway in Santiado (RD)? Is it true that it's going ahead? Who is going to build it? Is there any money?
Yes the Santiago Lightrail line is going to be build, the proyect was aproved.

Theses are some pics of the construction sites and some undergroud terminals of the Santo Domingo Metro, the big metalic structure is the main terminal that conects North Santo Domingo and the Distrito Nacional D.N. (National District), sort of like D.C.

Most of this pics are cortesy of Orad, a member of the Dominican forum:
Thank you Orad.

This is the Alstom Metropolis, the car choosen to be used in the Santo Domingo Metro




image hosted on flickr




image hosted on flickr








Elevated Section (Santo Domingo Norte):





Last edited by Vtroy; August 1st, 2007 at 04:22 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 12:51 AM   #5
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Trains you posted are from Barcelona metro.

Congratulations to Santo Domingo for its new system!
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Yo si la ciudad no tiene metro, como que no es gran ciudad y entonces ya paso de vivir allí. Norreport+12000
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 04:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
the fluted detail on the columns is nice
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 07:05 AM   #7
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Great news for this city...really
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 05:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitxofo View Post
Trains you posted are from Barcelona metro.

Congratulations to Santo Domingo for its new system!
Exactly, they are building the cars, ALSTOM Barcelona
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 08:13 AM   #9
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Are there some maps about planned route?
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 04:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJZG View Post
Are there some maps about planned route?
The metro runs from Santo Domingo North into Central Santo Domingo
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Old August 6th, 2007, 05:47 AM   #11
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That article is wrong San Juan had a metro before this project started
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Old August 6th, 2007, 08:38 AM   #12
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I had no idea that the DR was building a system! Ambitious system though I have a question as to the electricity problem. I know many people from Santo Domingo who always complain about the electricity shortages on a daily basis. Has that been fixed or does it remain the same?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #13
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whos crazy idea was to compare RD with the capital of the world New York City

only inside a dominican head

ohh my God this is crazy
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Old August 8th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PePi View Post
And what about the new tramway in Santiado (RD)? Is it true that it's going ahead? Who is going to build it? Is there any money?

Going back to Santiago - anyone has news about the new tramway? I read about it at http://www.cideu.org/site/content.php?id=2782...
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #15
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What a great project for this city. It's good to see some countries invest on public transport. I'd be great if some Santo Domingoans (?) can keep us updated with pics and news.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 01:43 AM   #16
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One of the stations in the elevated section of the subway, in the northen suburbs :
image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


This representation was made by Orad using Google Earth:

This is the Station where the first line ends, it's where most goverment ofices are.
image hosted on flickr

image hosted on flickr

This is the subway station at the Santo Dominingo University (UASD)
[IMG]http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1346/1116806184_cb442b1056_o.jpg
[/IMG]
Subway entrance:
image hosted on flickr

This is where the railyard and garage are being build:
image hosted on flickr
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Old September 1st, 2007, 01:49 AM   #17
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wow, the stations are going pretty well, thanks for the pics vtroy. if you can please put some pics of "la isabela" station,thanks anyways.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 02:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PePi View Post
Going back to Santiago - anyone has news about the new tramway? I read about it at http://www.cideu.org/site/content.php?id=2782...
santiago's tramway is schedule to start by the end of the year, it was supposed to start in this month but due to some below ground research's that are about to be done it will be reschedule.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 02:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koolkid View Post
What a great project for this city. It's good to see some countries invest on public transport. I'd be great if some Santo Domingoans (?) can keep us updated with pics and news.
Yeah it's really needed over there because transportation as it is right now is very bad. I just got back from a trip over there and it was really hard to get around by taxi or bus.
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Old September 1st, 2007, 02:13 AM   #20
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That looks great!! Would this project cause lots of debt? Or is everything ok?

Anyhow, the pictures look awesome. Thanks alot.

Last edited by koolkid; September 1st, 2007 at 03:34 AM.
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