Effectiveness of specific vaccines debated; Rural bus service may be reduced; Gov’t to concession some public projects; Work begins on new bike lanes

Jun 16, 2021 | 7 comments

Martes, 15/6/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Cierran carril de la Primero de Mayo (Lane closed on Primero de Mayo) – Construction starts today on the largest network of ciclovias (bike lanes) in Cuenca now that the city has received a $8 million loan from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. The project, which will be 13.5 km. long, has been awarded to 36 contractors and will start in 13 sections including av. Primero de Mayo, 27 de Febrero, and Max Uhle. On Primero de Mayo, the lane going from Tres Puentes to Av. de las Américas will be closed with the opposing lane becoming a one way from Las Américas to 3 Puentes. On av. 27 de Febrero, the lane going from Solano to 10 de Agosto will be closed. The work should take 90 days.

According to Councilman Diego Morales, the project is a response to a plan that was strengthened by the pandemia when motorized vehicle circulation was restricted and the use of bicycles cuadrupled. In the medium and long term, the goal is 120 km. of bike lanes. There is opposition to the project, mostly from neighbors along Primero de Mayo who argued that cyclists could use the paths next to the río Yanuncay, or the green areas instead of the roadway. The director of Movilidad del Municipio de Cuenca responded that the bike lanes are for getting from one place to another while the river paths are for recreation.

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Houses have been destroyed and others threated by landslides in the San José de Balzay neighborhood. (El Mercurio)

Temor por deslizamiento en Balzay (Fear of landslide in Balzay) – A family in San José de Balzay, on the west side of Cuenca spent Sunday night in a covered patio when a landslide hit the back part of their house. The slide covered the first floor of an unoccupied wooden house next door, and dragged the 2nd floor down the hill. Neighbors are worried because uphill houses discharge rainwater to the lower areas, and increase the instability of the slope. From the street, water from the higher part can be seen running down the slope. Trees have already fallen and the water is affecting house foundations. Residents are asking that the water from above be channeled to avoid una desgracia (misfortune – your word for the day). Mayor Palacios said that some of the construction in the area does not comply with any municipal regulation whatsoever. The wood house was built on a slope greater than 30% which is prohibited. <Building code? What’s a building code?>

Zonas de riesgo (Risk zones) – Civil engineer and soils specialist Marco Apolo said that the city should update the map of landslide risk zones. These zones are known for soil instability and include Nulti, Llacao, Sinincay, Octavio Cordero, Santa Ana, Turi, and other parishes. These zones should be made available to the public so that people know where not to build and the risks they take if they do. <Like reuse of a house as a toboggan before it’s recycled as firewood.>

Tipos de vacunas generan debate (Types of vaccines generate debate) – The various brands of vaccines administered has generated doubts in the recipients who prefer one brand over another. An epidemiologist, Andrea Gomez Ayora, emphasized that more than the brand applied, widespread vaccinations is one of the most effective tools to defeat Covid and gradually return to normal. <Personally, I hope normal includes continued handwashing. Especially for those of you I’ve seen strolling out of a toilet compartment and straight back to your table at restaurants without getting near the sink.>

Currently Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac are in the country with the one-dose CanSino coming in a few days. The national Government announced it is close to an agreement with Russia to import Sputnik V. Effectiveness of the vaccines is 95% for Pfizer, 76% for Astra Zeneca, 50.7% for Sinovac, 69% for CanSino, and 91.6% for Sputnik V which has not been approved by the Agencia Europea de Medicinas (EMA).

Consejo debate norma contra violencia (Council debates ordinance against violence) – The Concejo Cantonal held its 1st debate on the ordinance for the prevention, comprehensive attention, and eradication of violence against women. Part of the discussion was about funds to be provided for existing regulations and programs. The council hopes that 35% of the taxes collected on vacant real estate will be enough to cover scholarships for children orphaned by femicide and for victims of violence against women. Other use of the funds will be for therapy for perpetrators who are looking for specialized psychotherapy; and for investment in projects in the violet economy so women can be economically self sufficient.

Limitado servicio afecta ruralidad (Limited service affects rurality) – The announcement by bus companies serving the parishes that they will retire some of their fleets, caused a series of problems in rural transportation in Cuenca. <For you newbies, Cuenca is a lot bigger than the urban parishes you’re familiar with which is only a small fraction of the whole canton. Google a map of the parishes of Cuenca.> Bus companies are facing economic difficulties from fuel price increases to economic consequences from the pandemic and fares that do not cover expenses. On the other hand, users are afraid that if the buses are pulled out of service they will be isolated with no way to come into the city for their work or to bring their products to market. One rider said that from her home in Quingeo, it costs $15 to rent a pickup to get to Cuenca.

Councilman Diego Morales, president of the Comisión de Movilidad, said that the council set temporary rural fares and approved $120,000 for a definitive study. He felt a multi-sector committee needed to be formed, but this has not been done for lack of citizen representatives.

El Gobierno anuncia su plan de concesiones (The Government announces its concession plan) – Pres. Lasso met with his economic cabinet ayer to determine which businesses or projects would be concessioned or receive private sector investments. The first block would be in strategic sectors such as energy, hydrocarbons, mining, transport, public works and telecommunications. On the list are the Sopladora and Cardenillo hydroelectric plants, the Refinería Esmeraldas, Banco del Pacifico, the Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT), and mining projects. For Sopladora, the concession would be sold to administer the project, but the facility itself would not be. <I’m hoping because Lasso was a banker and businessman, he’ll know how to get an advantageous deal for the country. Or at least a deal that won’t screw the country.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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