Milan is to use the pandemic as the opportunity to press ahead with a reallocation of space from cars to cycling and walking, writes Laura Laker in the Guardian.
35km (22 miles) of streets will be transformed over the summer under the Strade Aperte plan. There are to be new low-cost temporary cycle lanes, 30kmh speed limits, and pedestrian and cyclist priority streets.
Milan is a city of 1.4 million people, and just 15km from end to end. 55% of commuters use public transport, and the average commute is less than 4km. Public transport is likely to be less popular as the city emerges from lockdown.
‘We worked for years to reduce car use’, said the deputy Mayor of Milan Marco Granelli. ‘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.
Previously, Milan was planning for 2030. Now, plans have been brought forward: work should get underway in May 2020.
Janette Sadik-Khan, who is advising Milan, called it ‘…a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a fresh look at your streets…’
Mayors in the North West call for positive changes
Meanwhile, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, Mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool respectively, called for positive changes to make the drop in air pollution permanent.
They said building walking and cycling networks, boosting internet connections, and working from home would all help retain the benefits as a result of reduced traffic.
I think people do want to keep the cleaner air, they do want to keep exercising, they do want maybe a more flexible working life where they don’t have to go into the office every day.Andy Burnham