Milan uses corona crisis to ban cars from inner city
Things will never be the same after COVID-19. That also goes for urban mobility. Lockdowns have given cities an unexpected taste of what their urban centres look like without congestion or pollution. Some cities are drawing their conclusions.
Milan, for example, is using the crisis as an opportunity to radically change its urban mobility paradigm. The Italian city (pictured: the Duomo at sunrise) will banish cars from 35 km of inner-city streets, turning them over to the exclusive use by cyclists and pedestrians.
It must be said that Milan is well predisposed to such a change: it's a particularly small and dense city, with already more than half of its inhabitants commuting by public transport.
Nevertheless, other world cities are taking note. Milan is cooperating with New York, Bogota and others on programmes to jumpstart new forms of mobility after the corona crisis. And because it has a head start, the Milan plan could become a roadmap for many other cities.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the time is ripe for widespread pedestrianising. Brighton has banned cars from its seafront drive during day hours, while residents of the London suburb of Barnes have taken the initiative to cordon off part of their shopping streets to increase pedestrian space.