An underground avenue between Santa Croce and via Roma

REGGIO EMILIA – There are three macro interventions aimed at improving urban quality that the Municipality of Reggio has submitted to the 2021 call of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility for redevelopment projects linked to the increase and improvement of urban decor and social and environmental fabric.

The objective of the candidacy is to obtain 20 million euros with which to co-finance a series of interventions, some of which are already included in the three-year investment plan, and three new works considered strategic for the development of the city in terms of space regeneration and creation. of connections between different neighborhoods, able to “mend” territorial areas that are now partially isolated.

These three new works are in fact destined to “change the face” of some areas, generating positive repercussions, in terms of urban quality, safety, social relations and roads, on the entire city. Among these there is in fact the creation of a large underpass that from the arch of Via Roma crosses the ring road and the railway to directly connect the internal Santa Croce to the external Santa Croce and thus reunite two areas as close as they are distant due to the rails. The underpass is also part of a larger package of interventions dedicated to the northern area of ​​the historic center, which includes, for example, redevelopment works in the Parco del Popolo and Piazza del Popol Giost to name a few.

Similarly, the works dedicated to the west quadrant of the city, with urban redevelopment from the city center to Villa Cella, or to the east quadrant, with the construction of a large overpass that connects the San Lazzaro Campus to the future sports center of the area. Campovolo, will have the ability to significantly affect people’s quality of life, generating not only new infrastructures but above all new connections and social opportunities.

The underpass of via Roma

If in recent years urban regeneration interventions have mainly affected the southern quadrant of the historic center, from the redevelopment of the Gioberti, Roversi and della Legna squares to the works in the Panizzi library, the Municipality has now decided to allocate an important package of interventions to the quadrant to north of the Via Emilia, a quadrant characterized by some areas of “suffering” due to social tensions and micro degradation phenomena. The area is in fact close to the Milan-Bologna railway and its station, it has separated the district from its historical external continuation, the working-class district of Santa Croce. The district is now characterized by interesting ferments of social and cultural animation, as well as being home to valuable institutions and cultural spaces of the city, such as the Cloisters of San Pietro, the Cloisters of San Domenico, the municipal theater Valli and the civic museums. To support the residential vocation of this part of the center and accompany its social and cultural ferment, the Municipality has designed coordinated interventions for an investment of 8.8 million euros to be allocated to urban regeneration works of public spaces that can be a driving force for a more general increase in the quality of places and relationships.

Among the works with the greatest impact and destined to have repercussions on the entire city, there is the construction of a new large cycle and pedestrian underpass between via Roma and via Regina Margherita, which can bring together the two parts of the external and internal Santa Croce in a single district. that the railway has broken up, transforming them into two distinct and mutually isolated areas. The underpass, which will be built in line with Via Roma, immediately after the arch, will have the innovative character of a boulevard of the highest urban and architectural quality, which guarantees physical and perceptive continuity between the two districts and with it the city effect. from the historic center towards the old working-class district which was isolated from urban life for over 150 years. The objective is therefore to restore what was the main communication route between the center and the northern area of ​​the city, restoring unity to Santa Croce and giving again centrality to Via Roma. The presence of the monumental arch of the ancient gate of Santa Croce still testifies to the historical importance of this place, which today however faces the railway barrier and the ring road, the busiest artery of the city. With this intervention, the arch will once again become the reference point for the entrance to the heart of the city.

The Via Roma underpass seen from above

Still on the subject of connections, some works related to the creation of the “road of culture”, a route that crosses the historic center, touching the most important places from the point of view of the institutions, history and culture of the city were also nominated. , starting from the Tricolore museum and arriving at the Loris Malaguzzi international center. As part of this itinerary, which also involves the Valli theater, the Civic Museums and the Cloisters of San Domenico, the redevelopment of the lighting, furnishings and part of the flooring in via Angelo Secchi and Dante Alighieri is planned.

The planned interventions include the redevelopment of the Parco del Popolo, the oldest and most monumental of the city’s public parks, which includes extraordinary maintenance and care of the monumental trees, the redevelopment and replacement of furnishings and lighting, and restoration of the cultural heritage housed in it and the redevelopment of cycle and pedestrian paths. The plan then provides for the redevelopment of the cloisters of San Domenico, currently the headquarters of the Peri / Merulo Higher Institute of Musical Studies, the seat of the historical archive of Istoreco, spaces for exhibition activities. The ancient seat of the cavalry regiment has been destined for cultural functions for about thirty years and today there is the need for modernization of some building structures and systems to ensure full operation.

Piazza del “Popol Giost”, the heart of the district now used as a parking lot, will instead be at the center of an architecture competition, funded and activated in 2021, for the physical, environmental and functional redevelopment of the square. The goal is to pedestrianize the square and use it for the social activities of the neighborhood’s resident community. The redevelopment will also make it possible to introduce plant, tree and shrub elements to increase the resilience capacity to local microclimatic effects due to climate change.

For the gardens of Santa Chiara, the area owned by the municipality behind the Gerra cultural center and enclosed between the University headquarters, the Ludovico Ariosto theater, the Cavallerizza theater, which today is in a state of decay, a redevelopment work is planned which protects it from improper use and allows it to be used for outdoor social and cultural activities.

Still on the subject of connections and strategies to “mend” and bring together territorial areas that are partially isolated or perceived as such, the Municipality, through this call, has decided to intervene – with an investment of 3 million euros – also in the eastern area of ​​the city and in particular on the Ospizio and San Maurizio districts and their connection with the area north of the railway. Specifically, the construction of a cycle and pedestrian walkway is envisaged that directly connects the San Lazzaro University Campus and the two adjacent districts with the Parco dello Sport.

Currently, in fact, the connection between the two parts on the sides of the railway is entrusted to the small underpass of the San Lazzaro station, unsuitable for the urban mending function, but in fact essential to be able to take advantage of the various services distributed on both sides and to equip the area. residential area of ​​an equipped green “outlet”, which is – and will increasingly be – the northern area where the Campovolo Arena is under construction, destined to host shows with large numbers of public and the Sport Park, with the track of cycling, the athletics track and other facilities inserted in a wooded area. The sports area is in fact an important infrastructure at the service of the university campus and residential districts and also represents a great opportunity for redevelopment that deserves to be fully enjoyed also thanks to more widespread connections than those currently available.

A similar “urban mending” operation will also be carried out within the Ospizio district with the construction of a cycle / pedestrian underpass to the railway that connects the two parts of the Campo di Marte park and the two areas of the district “broken” by the Reggio rails -Sassuolo. The presence of the railway inside the park prevents the use of the entire green area and above all does not allow a protected communication route to the school complexes which are located to the east and to the swimming pools and the city center which are to the west. The underpass, for an investment of 1.2 million euros, will be part of the “east supercyclable” which should guarantee a safe and fast connection between the city center and all the districts to the east, as envisaged by the Biciplan.

The cycle and pedestrian walkway in San Lazzaro

The third major mending intervention included in the loan, for an amount of 2.2 million euros, concerns the ovet area of ​​the city and the redevelopment of the Via Emilia up to Villa Cella in continuity with the city center. The conformation of the western part of the city is such that the districts of Pieve Modolena and Cella and the hamlets of Cadè and Gaida have all the public, commercial and social services facing the state road. On it therefore coexist the normal social functions of the inhabited area and a very heavy traffic that generates a very strong impact on the environmental quality, on the safety and ultimately on the concrete living conditions of the inhabited areas. In this case, the barrier that breaks the livability of the neighborhoods is not a railway, but a very busy road. The mending will therefore have to force the traffic to behave safely that allow you to move and cross the Via Emilia with greater safety.

A solution that will in any case be of great use even where the necessary commitment of Anas to build a variant to the entire road network could be realized. For this reason, the Municipality intends to carry out an overall redevelopment of the road axis, creating pedestrian and cycle spaces on both sides of the road, a system of protected pedestrian crossings, new lighting and trees, in continuity with what was built this year in via Emilia to the Angel. The project is also part of the Biciplan forecasts whose purpose is at the same time to guarantee greater conditions of accessibility, practicability and safety for pedestrian and cycle mobility within the towns and a better cycle connection between the various towns and the city.

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