Next week, Gran Colombia will offer a preview of tranvía-era El Centro

Aug 4, 2016 | 22 comments

Although it will not begin rolling for at least six months, Cuenca residents will get a preview next week of what the historic district will look like once the tranvía goes into operation.

Gran Colombia barricades will be removed next week.

Gran Colombia barricades will be removed next week.

Beginning Wednesday, the seven-block stretch of Gran Colombia from Huayna Capac to Luis Cordero, will open to the public under tram taffic rules. Although light vehicles will be allowed until the tram begins operations, they will not be allowed to make right turns across tram tracks and will be restricted to speeds of less than 13 miles per hour (20 kilometers per hour). “The priority will be on tram operation and protecting pedestrians and bicycle riders,” says Cuenca urban mobility director Jaime Guzman. “This will give us an early view at how the new regulations work and help educate the public before the tram begins to run.”

Guzman says that traffic police will fine drivers who exceed the speed limit. “We will send a strong signal that this is not business as usual for drivers and that their interests are secondary to pedestrians and cyclists and, next year, the tram.”

Before the tram begins operations, Guzman says that most of the traffic officers will be replaced by radar cameras that will automatically send fines to offenders.

By the end of the year, new traffic lights will be installed along the tram routes in the historic district that will give priority to the tram. “The tranvía will stop only at stations to take on and deliver passengers,” Guzman says. “Otherwise, it will always be in motion and all other traffic, vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle, will yield.”

According to the official schedule, the tram will begin its testing phase in February and become fully operational in May or June.

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