On Sunday January 19th Rome put a ban on all traffic excluding emergency vehicles, electric cars, certain types of motorcycles and vehicles with a disability permit. This isn’t the first time the city has called for a traffic free Sunday, and it won’t be the last. There are already some dates scheduled for February and March. The reason is environmental, the city, and the entire region, believe that having a couple of days a month without so much traffic could have drastic and improving impacts on the air pollution levels and therefore the quality of life and health for their citizens.
Photo via Roma Capitale
Trains and the underground metro will make extra runs and be open for longer hours on these days to make up for the lack of travel options, though Sunday is definitely an ideal day for this event to take place in the fascia verde (green belt) as it is not an average work day and even many shops usually are not open. As the weather is always warm in Rome (well, compared to a winter in NYC at least) and will only be getting nicer and nicer with the coming spring, these traffic free Sundays will hopefully inspire locals and visitors alike to take to exploring and wandering the eternal city, going about their usual Sunday activities, but on foot or perhaps bicycle instead of in their cars. If you are heading to Rome in the near future and plan to book a bike tour (which you definitely should do by the way) make sure to book the tour for either the 23rd of February or the 23rd of March, as those are the other confirmed traffic free days so far.
Photo via Wanted In Rome
It’s great when a government, especially in an urban location, can find a way to help protect both the environment and the people in a pleasant way. Maybe some other cities can follow Rome’s good example and introduce some traffic free and clean air initiatives, especially certain cities that have extensive underground metro options and definitely would be fine cutting back on the cars for a day *cough NYC cough*.