The city of Milan has announced its Strade Aperte plan or “Open streets” plan that favors pedestrians and cyclists over cars. In order to reduce car usage, the Lombardy area will repurpose 35km of roads, over the summer, after the coronavirus lockdown, transforming them into people-friendly streets.
Reallocating street space from fast to slow mobility, the ambitious vision of Milan is set to start at the beginning of May, on one of the city’s main shopping arteries, Corso Buenos Aires. The 8 km stretch will take on a new cycle lane and expanded pavements. Prioritizing cycling and walking, Milan, a relatively small yet dense city, can easily switch to alternative transportation modes, especially that the average commute is less than 4km, which is less than 40 min walking at a moderate pace, and more than half the population already uses public transport to get to work.
During the coronavirus lockdown, both traffic and pollution have dropped significantly. Aiming to keep the streets and the public transport congestion-free, the Strade Aperte plan could be one of Europe’s most ambitious urban design schemes. Including low-cost temporary cycle lanes, 30kph speed limits, pedestrian and cyclist priority streets as well as wider sidewalks, the Milan transportation recovery plan is taking notes from successful street transformation around the globe.
Janette Sadik-Khan, a former transportation commissioner for New York City, working on the scheme states that Milan could provide a roadmap for others and that it “is so important because it lays out a good playbook for how you can reset your cities now. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a fresh look at your streets and make sure that they are set to achieve the outcomes that we want to achieve: not just moving cars as fast as possible from point A to point B, but making it possible for everyone to get around safely”.
News via The Guardian.
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