City offers support to GRAB bicycle greenway.
An ambitious proposal to create a 44.2-km cycle-pedestrian path around Rome has received the full support of the capital and its bicycle-friendly mayor Ignazio Marino.
The scheme is being proposed by Italian environmental agency Legambiente and VeloLove, an organisation that promotes cultural initiatives involving mainly urban cyclists but also pedestrians, commuters and public transport users.
The project's co-ordinators say that the costs required would not be high and could be shared between public and private partnerships. They also say that 80 per cent of the route is already in place and ready to cycle safely.
Known as the Grande Raccordo Annulare delle Bici, or GRAB (after Rome's GRA ringroad), the route is flat and runs mainly along existing pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths as well as parks and river banks (32 km or 72 per cent of the route), while another four km (about 8 per cent) of pavements could easily accommodate a cycle path.
Supporters of the scheme describe it as a "modern Grand Tour" that unites ancient Rome's Appia Antica with the contemporary architecture of Zaha Hadid's MAXXI Museo delle Arti del XXI secolo, connects the Colosseum to the Vatican, the Tiber with the city's parks. The route would also connect cyclists and pedestrians to several railway stations and metro lines.
The scheme needs political support to proceed further, not to mention finding a solution to the remaining 20 per cent of the route which winds its way through sections of low to heavy traffic.
To see a break-down of costs as well as a colour-coded map of the proposed route, see VeloLove website.