This article discusses the city’s Strade Aperte pilot plan, which will temporarily expand sidewalks, bicycle lanes and reduce speeds in a significant share of the city’s downtown in an effort to maintain social distancing and reduced pollution levels seen during the lockdown.
While Milan is a city of 1.4 million people, it is geographically relatively small (15km across) and dense, with inhabitants having an average work commute of 4km, and 55% of its population using public transportation to get to and from work. However, according to a former transportation commissioner for New York City, this slow down in traffic is giving cities all over the world an opportunity to take both the need for continued social distancing in higher population outdoor spaces, and to radically rethink how their cities and populations move about. As she states,
“The Milan plan is so important is 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.”