The cycle paths slow down the economic, commercial and tourist restart of the city. Especially on the commercial boulevards and shopping streets. Only in Corso Buenos Aires, the most important commercial axis of the city with 350 shops on 1.5 kilometers interspersed with bars, there were an average of 100 thousand people a day in the pre-Covid period. Gateway to the city from the north along viale Monza up to piazzale Loreto to continue along corso Buenos Aires, corso Venezia up to San Babila and then to the Duomo.
The Sala administration’s attempt to slow down the pace of “ugly” Milan by making it move on bicycles, scooters, electric cars and public transport (less in times of pandemic) had “the boomerang effect of congesting the entire axis and intersections roads, with the result of having filled it with cars in columns, atmospheric and acoustic pollution and emptied of people and customers »explains Simonpaolo Buongiardino, president of Assomobilità. Hence, the soft mobility and “green ideology detached from reality” of the Sala junta, which created 35 kilometers of cycle paths with the brush in less than a year, is causing as a side effect a lower attractiveness of Milan. The whole area that gravitates around Buenos Aires is now considered an area to be avoided. «Disasters such as those created in Corso Venezia, Corso Buenos Aires and Viale Monza must no longer happen – warns Buongiardino – We do not condemn the tracks as such, but they are not good in every neighborhood and must not stifle the rest of mobility. They have created indescribable chaos at peak times and damage trade ”.
Negative performance that overlaps the losses recorded “of almost 40 billion and with dramatic double-digit falls for all the activities that characterize the triple A Milan, open and welcoming attraction – observed the president of Confcommercio Carlo Sangalli in March – that Covid he cornered. Two examples: from 45 per cent on average for catering to 65 per cent for accommodation and tourism ». And now that Lombardy is one step away from the white zone that will bring down the curfew, the risk “is that Milan will become less attractive due to congestion, at least in this whole slice of the city,” says Buongiardino.
In fact, there has already been «a sharp decline in consumption, the passage of customers and a dizzying increase in traffic. Buenos Aires is the main axis of entry into the city but due to the cycle paths it has become a single big traffic jam. We share the logic of sustainable mobility – said Marco Barbieri, general secretary of Unione Confcommercio Milano Lodi Monza e Brianza – but not if these actions are imposed from above, if the method and the merit are not shared. From one day to the next we found the workers who were tracing the tracks without having had the opportunity to understand what the project consisted of and sit down at a table with the administration ». The fear is that the same script will repeat itself with the project to widen the sidewalks and eliminate the parking, after the test between via Scarlatti and via Pergolesi. Prelude “to the works of the next few months which plan to widen the sidewalks with the laying of potted trees, keep the cycle path and eliminate the stop from the Corso” announced in May by the city planning councilor Pierfrancesco Maran.
That merchants are extremely worried about the transformation of mobility, according to the numbers of the survey that Confcommercio launched in March among 782 companies, of which 58 per cent from Milan, in view of the municipal elections in October. For 15 per cent of companies, the priority theme for the debate on the revitalization of the city is mobility, traffic and infrastructure after the health emergency and the tax burden. In particular, 48 percent give a negative opinion on the current situation of city mobility (positive 13 percent), while among the most criticized measures are the expansion of cycle paths, for which 54 percent of companies in the area are against (29 percent in favor), and the establishment of new pedestrian areas and limited speed zones (48 percent against, 29 percent in favor).