Lombardy city to relocate 35km of street space from cars to pedestrians and cyclists.
The ‘Milano Strade Aperte’ (Milan Open Streets) is a post-lockdown restart plan for Milan and one of Europe’s most ambitious schemes reallocating street space from cars to cycling and walking, in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. The proposal of 35 kilometers (22 miles) of tracks for pedestrians and cyclists will be transformed during the summer. Since the pandemic lockdown, air pollution and traffic congestion has dropped by 30-75%. Taking this positive environmental change impact into consideration, the city hopes to prevent a resurgence in car use post-lockdown as residents return to work looking to avoid busy public transport.
Marco Granelli, a deputy mayor of Milan, said: “We worked for years to reduce car use. If everybody drives a car, there is no space for people, there is no space to move, there is no space for commercial activities outside the shops. Of course, we want to reopen the economy, but we think we should do it on a different basis from before. We think we have to reimagine Milan in the new situation. We have to get ready; that’s why it’s so important to defend even a part of the economy, to support bars, artisans and restaurants. When it is over, the cities that still have this kind of economy will have an advantage, and Milan wants to be in that category.”*
Environmentalist and activist Greta Thunberg commented on the The Guardian news piece via a tweet; ”Milan is to introduce one of Europe’s most ambitious schemes reallocating street space from cars to cycling and walking, in response to the coronavirus crisis.”
*Marco Granelli was quoted in The Guardian.
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