By Kevin Fraser Park •
Published: 02 Nov 2023 • 10:56
Milan centre to be closed to traffic
Unthinkable for a nation that is in love with its cars: a portion of the centre of Milan will be completely closed to traffic. It will happen, probably in 2024 as detailed in a proposal by the Milan City Council which has already caused considerable controversy.
Milan’s Mayor, Beppe Sala, announced that the measure would affect not the entire Area C zone, but a much smaller slice: the Quadrilatero della Moda (Fashion District), extended to Corso Matteotti, Via Case Rotte and Via Manzoni, the main arteries of Milan city centre.
However, it is likely that this will only be the first stage. “It is a small start, a historical thing. From there, then we will expand”, Sala said during the ‘The Green and the Blue Festival’ event he attended last week. According to Sala, it is a matter of the public body demonstrating that it is doing its part and then being able to tell private individuals to do something too.
The area will be controlled by cameras, in Corso Venezia starting from the junction with Via Senato. “Private cars will not be allowed to enter, unless they are cars belonging to someone who lives inside the area, who owns a garage”, explained the Mayor.
“We do this because it is clear that the city reality is a shopping area, and we have to respect that. I’m not antagonistic to capitalism, but honestly seeing the parade of supercars in the centre that then cannot park no!”.
There was no shortage of reactions to the idea. For Silvia Sardone, city councillor and Lega Nord MEP, it is, “yet another genius of Mayor Sala’s in terms of mobility: it contributes to making Milan more and more into an exclusive club. So we ask ourselves: when will ditches and drawbridges be built to keep out citizens who are guilty of not living in Brera or San Babila and workers who need to move to the city centre to earn a living? The radical left is proving to be the enemy of the middle class and small businesses”.
The mayor of Sesto San Giovanni, Roberto Di Stefano, added, “Sala is now launching the idea of a Milan where no cars will be allowed to circulate after 2024. An absurdity that penalises not only the Milanese, but all the citizens of the suburbs, who are forced to commute every day. I am appalled, moreover, that this decision is being announced so light-heartedly, despite the fact that public mobility has progressively become more and more expensive.
Romano La Russa, Lombardy Region’s security councillor, said, “We’ll go back to using mules, donkeys and carriages from our grandparents’ time. I would also suggest thinking about a nice curfew from 2pm to 7am, that would be a really green solution. No cars, no electricity consumption, no nothing”. He went on to add, “Milan is being transformed into an enclave reserved for radical chic in bicycles and sandals”.
Europa Verde group leader Carlo Monguzzi is not supportive either, recalling that Sala, only on 6 October, had said that as long as he was mayor, the centre would not be closed to cars. “Today, 13 days later, he says he will close the Quadrilatero della Moda, 4 or 5 streets, and then expand,” said Monguzzi.
As in many other towns and cities around Europe where Low Emission Zones are being imposed, the discussion and controversy is sure to continue. But none more so in the country that gave the world the Ferrari and the Lamborghini.
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Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.
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