Double-parking is a part of Cuenca culture that has to change, city officials say.
“I’ll just be a minute,” is phrase that has been heard frequently in the historic district for years, as has been ongoing irritant to non-double-parked drivers who are forced to change lanes.
Much of the problem, according to officials, is that the practice has been tolerated for decades, with police typically giving warnings and not tickets.
No longer, they say. The city’s transportation office has mounted a media campaign urging drivers to change their habits or face fines and point deductions on their driver’s license The campaign emphasizes the price of the discourtesy of double-parking and the traffic accidents it causes, as well as the fact that it is a small town practice that is no longer suitable for Cuenca.
Gabriela Andrade, transportation office spokeswoman, says the traffic police are currently handing out fictitious summons but the real ones will follow within days. “Many drivers have been double-parking for years, so we must make the point that this is serious and that laws already on the books against it will be enforced.”
Andrade says that double-parking is worse in school zones and that her office handed out flyers to all drivers last month, before the school year ended.
The transportation office says the timing of the campaign is important as the city develops what it calls a “comprehensive mobility plan” that incorporates the tram, expected to be operational in the second half of next year. “In El Centro, the streets where the tram will operate will have only one lane open for traffic,” Andrade says. “It will be a disaster if drivers stop traffic on those streets.”