Bologna promoted an integrated programme to improve walkability in the city centre and build a different image of the city through new projects and rules.
The city of Bologna completed a progressive pedestrianisation programme of its city centre. Bologna has a lively city centre: in the part of the city included inside the ring roads currently has 73,000 inhabitants, 45,000 visitors and 65,000 people go there every day to study and work, with thousands of businesses, services, hotels, schools and event venues. Around 65,000 daily accesses to the city centre are made by car and motorbike. In 2014-2015, the Administration promoted “Di nuovo in centro”, an integrated programme to increase the walkability of the city centre, reducing the impact of cars and motorbikes and encourage sustainable transport, public transport, car sharing and bike sharing with the pedestrianisation of the T zone. The whole programme consist in interventions made to improve the quality of public space to return new spaces to pedestrians and cyclists (accessibility, public transport, cycling, parking)supported by regeneration projects, new rules for the use of public spaces, reorganisation of the waste collection system. One of the most visible output of the programme is the T-Days initiative: the three main roads at the heart of Bologna city centre become an area for pedestrians and cyclists. The streets are closed to motorized traffic including buses and taxis. The first edition was held on the occasion of the European Mobility Week in 2011. Since 2012 T-Days initiative became a permanent measure that is taking place every weekend and on banking holidays
The “Di nuovo in centro” programme is an ambitious programme despite the general lack of resources; the measures foreseen are based on the integrated use of public and private resources.
Evidence of success
Within the LTZ (restricted to motorised traffic from 7 to 20) the pedestrian areas and the T zone (comprising the most important streets of the city centre of Bologna, full of businesses and commercial activities) are now fully pedestrianised, with restricted access 24 hours a day. Just during the first edition of T-days in 2011, 60.000 people participated to the events organized in the T-area. The pilot initiative of 2011 become a permanent measure because of its successful implementation.
The main challenge experienced was the strong opposition by retailers of city centre. Afterward the first year, when they experience the economic positive impacted generated by the programme, they supported the Municipality especially for the T-days initiative.
Potential for learning or transfer
“Di nuovo in centro” is an example of a programme which is aimed at taking action on various fronts. This programme, starting with the centre of the city, shows the awareness of the complexity of urban areas. The city is just more than its centre, but the programme is based on the realisation that it is necessary to start with the centre in order to improve the city as a whole. The ultimate goal is to encourage a “gentle” way of using the city, based on travelling on foot, bike or public transport. The programme aims to develop a culture of walking by providing a continuous network of paths without architectural barriers. This is an ambitious challenge that calls on everyone involved to contribute to making the necessary changes. The integration of different policies (mobility, public space, environmental protection, economic and cultural promotion, communication) is the key factor of the success of this programme, that was able to create a new and shared image of the city.
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