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Milan: the blue

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An example of virtuosity for the city, between environmental issues and the pandemic 

Milan’s M4 – known as “the Blue” – is the new underground in construction that will connect the Linate Airport to S. Cristoforo RS, cutting the city from east to west for about 15 km with 21 stations. 

The project started in 2012 and it was strongly desired by the administrations and the whole community. Indicative is the motto posted on the M4’s Facebook page, “Mettiamo la quarta. Milano più veloce per tutti”, which praises the increasing speed of public transportation in the city. 

A greater speed is certainly necessary, but it’s also expensive: more specifically it will cost a total of € 1.958.473.000. as mentioned in the most recent document approved in the 2019 budget forecast. These expenses are partly supported by the central state – which accounts for most of the budget – partly by the city of Milan, and the final part by privates. 

The advantages of a new metro line for an urban area are a lot and consider both “green” implications as well as the enormous benefits in terms of traffic management and of qualitative improvement in the lives of people. 

Just to give an insight, 30 million car journeys will be avoided each year, 2% of city pollutants reduction, and 16 million tons of fuel saved per year are expected  

These data demonstrate Milan’s goal of minimizing car congestion, considering that in 2020, the province of Milan had nearly 9 vehicles per 10 residents (Source: ilsole24ore). 

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Of course, the new metro isn’t the only option; both the public and private sectors have worked to develop alternative and sustainable solutions to city mobility, as an example on our streets, the growth of sharing services or, in the public sector a 30% rise in cycling lanes in the last year, now reach almost 300 kms. 

There has been much disagreement over the subject of cycle paths in terms of road reduction. In a period of change like this, we must acknowledge the reality that vehicles exist and assess the impact of these policies on citizens’ daily life. 

However, the way is defined, and it is shared with other large European cities that are pursuing similar regulations aimed at reducing traffic congestion. 

Indeed, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo recently stated her aim to transform Paris in the “city of 15 minutes” where – in simple terms – a citizen can access all the points of interest in 15 minutes, and, of course, in green way. 

Milan will have the sixth European metropolitan infrastructure at the end of the new lines, bringing it fully in line with the major cities of the old continent. 

As many would assume, the project has challenged the company, or rather the consortium of companies led by Webuild s.p.a (ex Salini Impregilo s.p.a), originally, the metro was supposed to be partially done and provide a shuttle service to the airport for Expo 2015. Why “Supposed” you may say? That’s because the mini opening did not exist in fact, and the work is currently scheduled to end in 2022. 

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So far, a 10-year timeline has been set for the construction of a 15-kilometer subway line with 21 stations, and here’s where the virtuosity comes in. 

To see that this is not a huge timeline, consider the Copenhagen Cityringen Metro, which is 15.5 km long (vs. 15.3 km in Milan) and has 17 stations (vs. 21 for Milan). The Danish project was finished in 8 years by the same Italian corporation that operates in Milan. 

Furthermore, we have to consider the fact that the Italian company had delays as a result of the discovery of high-value archaeological findings and, lastly, the pandemic, which caused the work to be delayed for three months; in short, the work in progress in the northern region of Italy is an example of modernity, both in terms of its comprehensive implementation and the virtue of bringing the Milanese infrastructure up to par with that of its European counterparts. 

Author profile

I was born in Biella in 1998 and I was strictly forged by the Piedmont's pre-alps. I'm currently living in Milan and attending the 4th year in the school of law of Bocconi University. Lawyer to be, who's having fun analyzing everyday facts from different points of view

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