By Karla Betania Sánchez Arismendi
According to a study by the University of Cuenca, the number of cars in Cuenca is growing almost four times faster than the population.
The Pies y Pedales (Feet and Pedals) project of the university’s Llacta Lab for Sustainable Cities found that the population grew by 2.7 percent in 2017 while the number of cars in the municipal canton grew by 10 percent.
The city transportation office (EMOV) reports that about 120,000 cars and light trucks circulate on local streets every day. Another 20,000 gasoline-powered vehicles enter the city from outside the city, it says.
Adrián Castro, EMOV manager, says that the numbers show the importance of alternative means of transportation in the city, including buses, the tram, bikes and walking. “Because of geography and restrictions on expanding roadways in the historic district, there is a limit to our ability to increase traffic lanes.” she says. “We must improve the current public transportation system and build more bike paths and improve sidewalks.”
She said that the addition next of the tram as well as new bike paths are a step in the right direction. Currently, 6.8 kilometers of bikeways are being added in El Ejido, Av. Tres de Noviembre, Av. Agustín Cueva, Alfonso Moreno Mora, Av. 10 de Agosto and Remigio Tamariz areas, but more are needed.
She adds that new public education programs are planned to promote alternative transportation. “Now, most of those who use the bikeways, are young people and the elderly,” she says.
The Llacta Lab investigation found that 75% of Cuenca residents do not own cars.
Source: El Mercurio