9 de Julio Avenue
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia. (July 2013)|
The avenue runs roughly 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) to the west of the Río de la Plata waterfront, from the Retiro district in the north to Constitución station in the south. The avenue has up to seven lanes in each direction and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each. There are two wide medians between the side streets and the main road.
The northern end of the avenue is connected to the Arturo Illia expressway (which connects to Jorge Newbery airport and the Pan-American highway) and to Libertador avenue. The southern end is connected to the 25 de Mayo tollway (serving the west side of Greater Buenos Aires as well as Ezeiza airport) and the 9 de Julio elevated expressway which provides access to the two main southbound roads out of the city (route 1 to La Plata and route 2 to Mar del Plata).
History and overview
The avenue's unusual width is because it spans an entire city block, the distance between two streets in the checkerboard pattern used in Buenos Aires. The distance between adjacent streets is roughly 110 m, greater than the distance between streets in Manhattan. The street flanking 9 de Julio to the east is called Carlos Pellegrini (north of Rivadavia) and Bernardo de Irigoyen (south of Rivadavia). The street flanking 9 de Julio to the west is called Cerrito (north of Rivadavia) and Lima (south of Rivadavia).
The avenue was first planned in 1888, with the name of Ayohuma; but the road was long opposed by affected landlords and residents, so work did not start until 1935. The initial phase was inaugurated on 9 July 1937 and the main stretch of the avenue was completed in the 1960s. The southern connections were completed after 1980, when the downtown portion of the tollway system was completed. Clearing the right-of-way for these intersections required massive condemnations in the Constitución area.
Line C of the Buenos Aires Metro runs for a stretch under the avenue. Line A, Line B, Line D, and Line E have stations when their course intersects the avenue. Notably, lines B, C, and D share a station underneath the Obelisk, which is the focal point of the subway system and features a retail concourse which also serves as an underpass. The respective station names are Carlos Pellegrini, Diagonal Norte, and 9 de Julio.
Crossing the avenue at street level often requires a few minutes, as all intersections have traffic lights. Under normal walking speed, it takes pedestrians normally two to three green lights to cross it. Some urban planners have submitted projects to move the central part of the avenue underground to alleviate the perceived "chasm" between the two sides of the avenue.
Points of interest
The main landmarks along the avenue are, north to south:
- French Embassy: The French government refused to submit the embassy building for demolition, and local preservationists opposed the move as well, as the building is widely hailed as an architectural masterpiece. See their site (French) for detail.
- Teatro Colón
- The western end of Lavalle Street, a pedestrianized street formerly known for its many cinemas
- The Obelisk and Plaza de la República
- Statue of Don Quixote in the intersection with Avenida de Mayo
- The former Ministry of Communications building (the only building sitting on the avenue itself), at the intersection with Moreno street.
- Constitución station and Plaza Constitución
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