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Milan, one of Italy’s bustling urban centers, is taking a bold step to combat pollution by implementing a ban on cars within its city center.
Mayor Giuseppe Sala is spearheading this initiative to enhance the city’s air quality, given that pollutant levels currently hover at nearly four times the recommended safe threshold.
The proposed plan aims to enact the car ban by the year 2024, with a critical enforcement measure being the installation of surveillance cameras along Corso Venezia to monitor traffic and restrict the entry of private vehicles.
During a sustainability festival, Mayor Sala emphasized the significance of this move, stating, “It’s a small thing, but at the same time, it’s a historic thing.”
He further explained, “I am not an antagonist of capitalism, but honestly, seeing the parade of supercars in the center, which they then can’t park, can’t continue.”
Why Do They Want To Ban Cars in Milan?
The motivation behind this car ban in Milan stems from the city’s standing as one of the most polluted in Europe.
Its air quality is severely compromised due to an abundance of fine particles, a type of pollutant that poses a significant health risk to its residents.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) sets a maximum safe level at a long-term average of no more than 5 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter). Milan, however, registers pollutant levels nearly four times higher, at 19.7 μg/m3,” Euronews reported.
What Would a Car Ban in Milan Look Like?
This move to restrict cars from Milan’s city center is not only a practical measure but also an endeavor to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, particularly in the Fashion Quadrilatero area, which hosts many of the city’s high-end boutiques.
Mayor Sala revealed that this initiative enjoys the support of fashion houses in the vicinity.
It’s important to note that this car ban will not apply to all residents. Those with access to garages, individuals requiring car parking facilities, taxis, and public transport users will be exempt from the ban.
Unauthorized entry into the restricted area will result in fines for violators.
Which Other Cities Have Banned Cars?
Several cities around the world have implemented or considered car bans or restrictions in certain areas to address pollution congestion and promote sustainable transportation.
Stockholm has implemented a car ban in the city center to reduce emissions and traffic congestion. The car ban restricts access to petrol and diesel vehicles in the city center, encouraging the use of public transportation and cleaner vehicles.
Paris has been working on reducing private vehicle use in the city center. It has introduced measures such as car-free days and plans to eliminate private vehicles from its historic center ahead of the Olympic Games in early 2024.
Madrid’s central area, known as Madrid Central, implemented restrictions on the entry of older, more polluting vehicles. This measure aims to reduce air pollution and promote cleaner transportation options.
Bogotá is known for its extensive network of Ciclovía streets, where certain roads are closed to motor vehicles on Sundays and holidays, allowing people to bike, walk, and use non-motorized transportation.
London, United Kingdom
London has introduced congestion charges in the city center to discourage the use of private vehicles and promote public transportation, cycling, and walking.
These measures are often implemented to combat air pollution, reduce traffic congestion, and encourage the use of public transportation, cycling, and walking, thereby promoting cleaner and more sustainable urban environments.
The Benefits Of Banning Cars in City Centres
Banning cars in city centers can offer a wide range of benefits for the environment and the quality of life in urban areas. Here are some of the key advantages:
Reduced Air Pollution
One of the most significant benefits is a substantial reduction in air pollution. Cars are a major source of air pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. By banning or restricting cars, cities can significantly improve air quality, which is essential for public health and the environment.
Improved Public Health
Cleaner air from reduced car usage can improve public health. Lower levels of air pollution are associated with reduced respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and overall better health outcomes for residents.
Fewer cars on the road can reduce the risk of accidents and make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. This, in turn, can encourage more people to walk or cycle, further improving safety.
Reduced Traffic Congestion
Car bans can alleviate traffic congestion, making it easier for people to move around the city. This can lead to more efficient transportation and less time spent in traffic.
Cultural and Social Benefits
Car-free city centers can encourage a sense of community and social interaction. People can enjoy a more relaxed and social urban environment, fostering a stronger sense of connection among residents.
Reduced car usage can help protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a more sustainable, eco-friendly urban lifestyle.
It’s important to note that the success of car bans depends on effective planning, alternative transportation options, and public engagement. Well-executed car bans can help create healthier, more livable, and sustainable urban areas.