23 October 2018

Technical Cooperation Brazil – Presentation of the transformation scenarios for Central do Brasil (RJ) and Palmeiras-Barra Funda (SP) stations

As part of the technical cooperations with São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro States, two prefeasibility studies for the transformation of Central do Brasil, in Rio de Janeiro, and Palmeiras-Barra Funda, in São Paulo, into new generations stations are financed by the French Development Agency (AFD). These studies are being developed by EgisArep consortium since April 2018. CODATU participates providing a technical assistance. The first phase of the studies was presented in June 2018.

In this context, in September 2018, two events were held to present the results of the second phase. The Mission 2 consists of the proposal of scenarios for the stations, scenarios for the urban design around the stations and of the functionalities for the site.

The technical meeting in Rio de Janeiro, held on September 17th, in terms of urban planning, the proposal main goals are (i) reinforcement of the link between the Northern and Southern zones of the multimodal hub, strengthening the transport hub centrality, and (ii) the historic heritage restoration, proposing new uses to the station building ant others impelling habitations and functional mixing. Regarding urban mobility, the project must facilitate the multimodal connections and rebalance pedestrian and vehicles spaces. The proposals included the several space of the transport hub, from Campo de Santana till the quarry. Creating station forecourts, with very spacious public areas, it will enable a better urban integration for the station and for the users a better perception of the space. In social terms, the proposal favours the creation of social housing by means of “urban acupuncture”, in other words, the treatment of the existing historical buildings. Furthermore, a Social Pole is proposed to help local residents in professional integration, as well as the Parque Pedreira (Quarry Park), holding cultural and sporting participatory programme.

View of the Central do Brasil station project. Source: Egis-Arep

The workshop in São Paulo was held in September 19th. Similar to Central do Brasil, one of the main goals for Palmeiras-Barra Funda is to strength the North-South connection, turning the station into a walkway to cross the railway. In addition, the station commercial potential will be maximized thanks to the flow rearrangement and the stores repositioning, filling up empty spaces today. It’s important to highlight the setting up of a start-up incubator to foster the links with the universities and a hotel in a iconic building, a urban landmark, adding to the reinforcement of the station identity. The station will be anchored to the city through the South and the North forecourts, highlighting a green urban landscape. The main link axis between both sides of the rails will turn into a shopping and restaurants street, to make the station a meeting point. Finally, there is a possibility for a mixed use urban development in lots to the north of the station.

View of the Palmeiras-Barra Funda station project. Source: Egis-Arep

The afternoon of both events was dedicated to the work groups to identify if criteria such as (1) urban integration, (2) social inclusion, (3) intermodality and operability, (4) user experience and (5) sustainability are being fulfilled by the propositions of the consortium Egis-Arep.

In Rio de Janeiro, the groups highlighted points such as (1) the balance between pedestrian and vehicles spaces, mainly in front of the station and on the Presidente Vargas Avenue, (ii) the creation of new opportunities for housing, (iii) the security impression provided by wider environment without urban barriers and (iv) the connection between Américo Fontenelle bus terminal to the multimodal hub spaces.

In São Paulo, the groups underlined subjects such as (i) the concern on carrying on traffic studies to validate the urban propositions, (ii) the need on including longitudinal axis to the scope of intervention, (iii) the concern on flow management during transport system breakdowns and (iv) the station promotion via sustainable actions.

In both events, Étienne Riot, sociologist specialized in rail stations planning in Arep, showed the importance in creating a strong station identity and the results it brings to the user experience, presenting Italian, English and French study cases. Both in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the participants were impressed with the project owners’ governance capacity in, for instance, establishing one consensus about the communication graphic design. Furthermore, the Brazilians said these subjects are dealt during more advanced project phases and not during the initial concept phase, like the European cases were able to show.

The studies third phase will consist on studying in details the chosen scenario for each station and on proposing an Action Plan regarding recommendations in terms of deployment, implementation total costs, one business plan with financial and institutional arrangements, recommendations about the project governance, calendar and implementation phasing, as well as the main technical and institutional difficulties expected. The Mission 3 will allow evaluating the relevance of pursuing the studies of the stations and their transformation into new generation stations.