Milan is set to introduce a new scheme of road traffic reallocating street space from cars to cycling and walking. The move is one of the most ambitious schemes in Europe and will be implemented in response to the Coronavirus crisis.
The northern Italian city is also one of Europe’s most polluted city. In light of the nationwide lockdown motor traffic congestion in the city dropped by 30 to 75 per cent and air pollution with it.
In accordance with the new scheme, the city has announced that 35km of streets will be transformed over the summer with a rapid, experimental citywide expansion of cycling and walking space to protect residents as the restrictions are lifted.
Vital inclusions in the new move include low-cost temporary cycle lanes, new and widened pavements, 30kph speed limits, and pedestrian and cyclist priority streets. The locations currently chosen for the scheme include low traffic neighbourhood on the site of the former Lazzaretto, a refuge for victims of plague epidemics in the 15th and 16th centuries.
To put things in perspective, Milan is a small dense city, 15 km from end-to-end with a population of 14 lakh people. About 55 per cent of them use public transport to get work and the average commute is less than 4km. This makes the city a suitable choice for a possible switch from cars to active modes of transportation.