Milan has approved a £200 million plan to create a new network of bike paths linking the city and its surrounding areas.
The ‘Cambio’ Biciplan project was designed in consultation with the Dutch spatial economic research firm Decisio and is part of the city’s goal to secure a 20% modal shift to cycling.
The network will link 750 kilometres of bike lanes across 24 different lines, including 16 radial, four circular and four long-distance greenways. Some existing routes will be added to the network, while others will be newly constructed.
The project aims to ensure that around 80% of homes and services in Milan, such as hospitals, schools and railway and underground links, are located within one kilometre of each bike route. The paths will also feature state-of-the-art infrastructure, including low-impact motion-sensor lighting, digital displays, and a network of fibre optic cables, as well as dedicated bike parking stations.
The first path is scheduled to be ready this summer, while the entire network is due to be completed by 2035.
According to Beatrice Uguccioni, the mobility councillor for the Metropolitan City of Milan, the Cambio project aims to make Milan, a city currently synonymous with industry, congestion and visible air pollution (like so many other urban areas across Lombardy and northern Italy), a place where its inhabitants can cycle “to reach cinemas, schools, health centres and meeting places on innovative routes and to do so in complete safety”.
Uguccioni says that the scheme’s primary goal(link is external) is to make the bike the most convenient mode of transport for Milan’s population. “The aim is to bridge the gap we have with respect to the most virtuous European metropolitan areas”, Uguccioni said. “This will lead to less emissions and traffic, but also more road safety, as cyclists and motorists will not have to share the same road. It is a unique project in Italy."
This investment in Milan’s cycling infrastructure takes its cue from the success of ‘Plan Velo’ in Paris, the latest phase of which aims to make the French capital a ‘100 percent cycling city’ within the next four years. Yesterday it was reported that the European Commission has for the first time proposed to prioritise investment in cycling as part of an overhaul of urban mobility.