Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera gave his approval Saturday to reopen Calle Gran Colombia from Av. Huayna Capac to Luis Cordero. “This looks fabulous,” he said during a walking tour of the tranvia work area. “I’m beginning to see the future of Cuenca.”
Although the Gran Colombia reopening was delivered according to the new schedule, the opening of several intersections along the tram work route have been delayed. The crossing of Estevez Toral and Colonel Talbot at Mariscal Lamar, and of Toral at Gran Colombia will open within a week, according to Cabrera. Tram project manager Romeo Moncayo said several safety issues remain unresolved at the intersections.
During the mayor’s tour, several business owners attempted to talk to him about plans to limit vehicular traffic on Gran Colombia. Dozens of business owners are angry about plans to limit some streets to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and to reduce speed limits on others. Cabrera said he would be happy to discuss the matter in private meetings.
The business owners complained about the plans Wednesday at a meeting with city officials.
Moncayo says that the limits on traffic have been known for years and are a technical requirement for tram operation. “It’s not just an aesthetic issue, it’s a safety issue,” he said. “In the long term, the changes will very good for both the businesses in Centro as well as the public.”
Several business owners say they are organizing protests of the new street plans. They are also considering legal action, one tienda owner said.
Traffic will be allowed on the reopened sections of Gran Colombia until the tram begins operations next year.