“You can’t solve a problem by using the same tools that caused the problem,” it is by following this mantra that we wanted to envision an infrastructure that could solve the problems of traffic, pollution, heat islands and the effects of climate change in one fell swoop.
We started with the mobility pyramid, as it was conceived during the 1900s and how it should be structured in the new millennium to ensure accessibility, safety, and sociality for the greatest number of people: that is, giving top priority to those who move by foot, then to those who move by bicycle, to micromobility and cargo bikes, and then to public transportation and, finally, to cars, whether shared or private.
Therefore, we decided to apply this logic to one of the most polluted and congested areas in Europe, the Milan-Sesto San Giovanni-Monza road axis, which has at least 30 thousand private motor vehicles traveling every day on a average of 8.6 km (round trip): a distance that, by bicycle, can be covered without impacting air quality in less than 30 minutes, which is less than the minimum daily physical activity recommended by the World Health Organization.
After a careful study of all possible alternatives, we decided to go for the Viale Sarca axis, a secondary road that is oversized compared to real traffic and is very often used simply as a bypass to avoid the speed cameras and traffic lights of Viale Fulvio Testi.
And here we asked ourselves: what would happen if we took 8 of the City of Milan’s 1937 km of roads away from private, motorized traffic? After an evaluation of the various intersections and flows, we realized that there would be no major negative consequences and, indeed, the positive effects would far outweigh the negative effects.
From here, we envisioned the street section: eliminating cars and parking lots to leave space solely for people, trees, flower meadows, bicycles and public transportation. And the result is what you see below, appropriately rendered by Montieri and Macchi Studio (whom we thank).
And so MIMO was born: what could be the world’s first metropolitan green way born in a densely urbanized context.
According to initial assessments made, we estimate that the green way MIMO could radically change the lives of more than 75,000 local residents and reduce by at least 10,000 the number of cars that travel the Milan – Sesto S. Giovanni – Monza and Monza – Sesto San Giovanni – Milan axis every day, thereby improving air quality. In addition to this, the 5,000 trees to be planted along the route would ensure a reduction in temperatures of about 3° C in buildings along the route and a capacity to absorb about 1,000 tons of CO2/year.
Thus, the benefit of redevelopment would fall not only on quality of life and air, but also on real estate, which could increase its value by between 12 percent and 23 percent. Commercial activities would also benefit from this change of use of public space: based on similar operations in other cities around the planet, it is estimated that commercial activities located along the route could increase its turnover by between 35 percent and 55 percent through increased flows and the new attractiveness of areas that are now marginal and left to their own devices.
We presented this proposal on the occasion of the 5th anniversary since the founding of our company, which we celebrated at our new headquarters in Milan, which complements the one in Monza.
Participants in the presentation reacted extremely positively.
– Bikenomist (@bikenomistcom) January 22, 2020
And so did the readers of Bikeitalia.co.uk who enthusiastically commented on our proposal.