Milan prioritizes walking and cycling
The Italian municipality wants to serve as an example to others cities across the world
- April 24, 2020 09:30
- Monika Dimitrova
The Italian megapolis Milan and the surrounding region are among the most polluted areas in Europe. At the same time, they have also been one of the areas hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic in the entire world.
One of the few pieces of good news throughout the past few months since the country implemented its lockdown measures is that congestion has dropped by up to 75% in some areas. Local authorities right now are hoping that people will not start relying on their cars even more after the restrictive policies are lifted as a means to avoid public transport.
The Italian municipality has worked for years to reduce car use. With almost everyone in the city driving a car, there is not enough space for people to move, and for commercial activities to take place outside the shops.
Reallocation of street space from car lanes to cycling and walking paths
The Municipality of Milan has announced that it is going to reallocate up to 35 kilometres of street space from car lanes to cycling and walking paths. The new “Open Roads plan” includes low-cost temporary cycle lanes on road edges, 30 km speed limits, and pedestrian and cyclist priority areas.
Milan is planning to reopen its economy but on a different basis from before the COVID-19 period. The new plan is to reimagine Milan in the new circumstances.
The city wants to also protect as many parts of the economy as possible and to support bars and restaurants. When the quarantine is over, a city that has managed to preserve this kind of local economy will undoubtedly have an advantage. Moreover, Milan could act as a roadmap for other cities across the world.
The new strategic plan of Milan is crucial because it represents a playbook for how a city could be reset in a much better way. It’s a unique opportunity to take a fresh look at the streets, traffic and people and make it possible for everyone to get around safely and freely.
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