Expat pedestrian death on Ordóñez Lasso prompts calls for crosswalks, speed controls

May 9, 2018

The death of a U.S. citizen attempting to cross Av. Ordóñez Lasso last week has resulted in demands for improved pedestrian protection on the busy west side street. A neighborhood group says it plans to meet with city and national transportation officials to discuss pedestrian improvements, including the addition of crosswalks and curb-cuts.

A pedestrian stands on the narrow Ordoñez Lasso median waiting for a chance to cross the busy street. (El Mercurio)

According to Cuenca transit police, 91-year-old Ronald Zuk was hit by two cars after he fell attempting to cross Lasso last Tuesday. He died instantly as a result of his injuries, according to paramedics.

“This was a terrible accident that could have happened to any of us who live here,” says expat Roger Johnston who owns a condominium near the accident scene. “There is a long stretch of roadway with no pedestrian crossings and the median strip dividing the east- and west-bound traffic is almost too narrow to stand on.”

The administrators of two condominium projects on Lasso say they will discuss design changes for the street when they meet with officials. “We need more crosswalks and curb cuts and better speed controls and we need them quickly,” says Diana Cordova, administrator of the Riverside condominium. “Many of us living here feel like we take our lives in our hands every time we cross the street.”

She adds that crossing Lasso is “almost impossible” for mothers with babies and people with handicaps. “There apparently was no planning for this when the street was rebuilt,” she says.

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Arturo Andrade, administrator of the Palermo condominium, down the street from the Riverside, agrees with Cordova and said “serious mistakes” were made in the reconstruction of Ordóñez Lasso two years ago. “I believe there were violations in standards for pedestrian rights and we want these corrected.”

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