Historic district plans emphasize bicycle use as basic transportation

Sep 18, 2015 | 7 comments

The plan to revitalized Cuenca’s historic district, announced last week, includes “cyclable corridors” to promote use of bicycles for basic transportation and to reduce the need for cars and buses.

Biking in El Centro.

Biking in El Centro. Photo credit: El Mercurio

“Recreational cycling is wonderful,” says Cuenca Councilman Marco Avila, who is a member of the transportation commission that worked with Spanish urban planners to develop the new 10-year plan for the conversion of El Centro. “But we must also follow the lead of the rest of the world that emphasizes bicycles as a means of basic transport, for going to work, for shopping, and getting around town. We need to move to alternative mobility to protect Cuenca’s quality of life.”

According to Jose Luis Cañavate, Director of Mobility Planning, the proposed historic district bike corridors are Calles Manuel Heredia, Colonel Talbot, Benigno Malo, Luis Cordero, Manuel Vega, Calle Large, Gran Colombia and Mariscal Lamar. “There will be some vehicular traffic on these streets but it will move at a reduced speed to co-exist with bicycle traffic as well as pedestrians,” he said.

The historic district redevelopments plans, delivered last Friday by Andalusian planners, call for the creation of a network of public pedestrian areas, renovation of several parks, the elimination of street curbs and commercial revitalization.

Cañavate, calls the plan a vision for the future that emphasizes people, not cars. “This is a road map that draws on the beauty of the city’s history,” he says. “By following it, we are walking toward a future that will be shared by all Cuencanos, as well as visitors to the city.” He adds: “Bicycles are a central part of the plan.”

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Cañavate says planning for the bike corridors can begin immediately since most of the funding was set aside last year. “This was separate from the overall redevelopment plan but we need to integrate it and that’s what we are working on now,” he said.

The city council will begin discussing the bicycle corridors at a special meeting today.

 

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