Volcanic ash makes for a hazy morning; City considers fine for peeing in public; Market merchants demand end to pedestrian block

Feb 26, 2020 | 8 comments

Tuesday morning’s hazy sky in Cuenca was the result of southwestly winds from the erupting Sangay volcano in Morona Santiago Province. Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said the wind direction had shifted to the west by Tuesday night and reported that no ashfall was recorded in Azuay Province. The Red Cross issued a health advisory at 10 a.m. but rescinded it at 4 p.m.

Cuenca air quality dipped into the “moderate” quality range at noon Tuesday but was back in the “excellent” range by dark.

Sangay volcano, 70 miles north of Cuenca, has been in an active phase since May. Ashfall and lava flows have required the relocation of 30 families near the base of the mountain.

Cuenca considers fining public urinators
The Cuenca municipal council is considering following Quito’s lead and imposing fines on men caught urinating in public. “It’s time we update our public spaces ordinance to ban those who relieve themselves in our streets and parks,” says city councilor Iván Abril. “It’s a disgusting habit that is not acceptable in a modern city.”

Cuenca skies were hazy Tuesday morning due to gas and ash from the Sangay volcano.

Abril says he has received numerous complaints from residents and tourists about the practice and plans to introduce updated ordinance language at an upcoming council meeting.

Quito imposes an $80 fine for those caught peeing in public.

San Francisco Plaza merchants continue efforts to re-motorize Padre Aguirre
A committee of San Francisco Plaza merchants met Thursday with city officials to demand that Calle Padre Aguirre be reopened to motorized traffic. The street was closed to traffic earlier this month and currently serves as pedestrian mall.

The committee is also demanding that the city drop its “superblock” plan to reduce vehicle traffic in El Centro. The plan, based on European models, aims to encourage increased pedestrian and bicycle use of public streets.

The merchants claim that reduced vehicle traffic hurts sales.

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