La Viga Linear Park, the Parque Linear La Viga, is one of the earlier attempts at recovering public spaces through the development of park spaces in less traditional formats. A renovation project begun in 2016 was finished up with aplomb only in 2021. Today there are recreation areas, a skate park, a dog run area and more. It’s also nicely lit up for nighttime use.
In fact, the new linear park occupies space designated as a Paseo in 1785. The Paseo was planned merely a pleasant tree-lined promenade. The designation originated with Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, when he was Viceroy. (He was building his house, later the Castle of Chapultepec, at the same time.) It fell to a successor, the Count of Revillagigedo (1789-1794) to complete the Paseo de la Viga. Extending from the Avenida Fray Servando in the north, to the old Garrison, here, the Paseo was in use through the end of the 19th century. It covered most of the western bank of the canal at a stretch of some 1.62 kilometers.
The Antigua Garito de la Viga lasted here until the 1950s. At that point the last remains of the once elaborate stone sentry box were removed. There’s reason to believe it was the most illustrious of the 13 garrisons that once ringed the City. Afterall, La Viga canal connected Mexico City, here, with the rich farmlands and marketplaces of the southeast of the City. The present-day city of Chalco was a two-hour trip away when steamships connected from La Viga.
Much of this history is remembered in the presentday Jamaica Market, just south of here and in Santa Anita, only a little further. The National Canal, as the waterway was called in its more southerly reaches, is today restored. The open canal there is lined with parks, recreation areas, and trees.
La Viga Linear Park marks the border between Venustiano Carranza to the east and the Paulino Navarro neighborhood in the Alcaldía Cuauhtémoc to the west. It’s a vital part of the broader La Viga area. But it’s also a nice break from traffic and concrete.