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Rome races to build 150km of new lanes

Rome has sprinted out of the blocks in the race to build 150 kilometers of new permanent and temporary bike routes along the city’s main corridors and connecting streets.

After enduring a sustained and harsh lock-down, physical distancing rules were set to continue for some time into the future.

Never-the-less, the city needed to be mobile again, so bikes came to the forefront of planning.

Long a car-based culture, Rome had become a transport nightmare.

Before COVID-19, the Italian capital had released plans for 90km of networked bike routes across the city, based on best practice from other cities further down the track with the switch to bikes.

So they could move fast.

Construction on the first route at the Piazzale Cina began last month.

It was easy: they simply marked the bike lane on road space that was formally used for parking.

No whinging motorists in sight.

Such simple and easy-to-implement methods enable the quick creation of a large network, crucial given the urgency.

The steps taken to support cycling have numerous benefits, Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome says: "By encouraging active mobility, we will be able to limit the use of cars and reduce the strain on public transport.”

Enrico Stefàno, President of Rome’s Mobility Commission, says: "In phase two of our COVID-19 response, it has become more important to focus on sustainable mobility and cycling.

The latter is the most effective, efficient and healthy way to complete many journeys made by people in Rome.”

The plans also foresee an expanded role for cargo bikes in the city's logistics system.

It sounds like some players in the 'Australian Pop-up Bike Lane League' could take some tips from Rome.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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