To celebrate World Environment Day on 5 June, the president of the regional council, Piero Marazzo, and the Rome city hall environmental councillor, Fabio De Lillo, announced the reopening of the Tiber river bank and cycle path to great fanfare. The dumped refuse, the overgrown weeds, the broken safety barriers, the carrier bags caught in the tree branches following the winter floods have all been dealt with. Supposedly.
But the truth is that, despite weeks of closure for the clean-up campaign, during which approximately 570 tonnes of waste was removed, those wishing to go for a stroll or a bike ride are faced with a quasi post-apocalyptic sight on the stretch between Ponte dell'Industria (parallel to Trastevere train station) and Ponte Sublicio (Porta Portese). While the debris stuck in the trees has been removed, the grass along the banks has been totally uprooted and the trees lining the upper part of the banks have been felled, leaving the cycle path and walkway covered with dried earth. Parts of the path are almost wholly obstructed by the brushwood and trash abandoned there by those in charge of straightening out the banks, as you can see in the photos on our Flickr photo archive snapped on 13 June 2009 . This once green and pleasant artery to get to the city centre now appears as a desolate grey wasteland, where the few intrepid passing cyclists raise clouds of dust stifling passers-by. Cycling associations in the capital, such as BiciRoma, denounce the poor state of affairs, adding that once past Ponte Sublicio (going northwards), the stands and bars for Estate Romana block most of the path, thereby making it practically unusable.