Ahead of the introduction of the new traffic system at the Colosseum on 3 August, the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino said it his "dream" of creating the "total pedestrianisation of the Roman Forum” during his administration.
Marino made his remarks on 1 August in reaction to a front-page article in the International Herald Tribune (the international edition of The New York Times) which said the project had prompted "grousing and histrionic debate" in the capital, in particular from shopkeepers along Via Merulana and Via Labicana who fear the new traffic viability will prove disastrous for their businesses.
''I read in the papers the controversy of many – the criticism of the tobacconist or of the framer who speak of disaster. I think we have the most noteworthy monument in the world and we've turned it into a traffic island'' – said Marino – ''I say this with respect, but between the interest of he who can't park his car in front of the tobacconist and caring for the Colosseum, I chose the latter.”
The city's plan will see private traffic banned from the stretch of Via dei Fori Imperiali near the Colosseum from 3 August, and Marino stated that it was his intention to ban all other motor vehicles from the street in the future. However the mayor acknowledged the need to complete the troubled metro C line to Piazza Venezia in order to offer a public transport alternative.
He also said that he wishes to open up Via dei Fori Imperiali – built through the Roman Forum by Mussolini in the 1920s – to archaeological digs and would be seeking EU funding for this purpose.
For more details of the initial phase of the traffic plan and the schedule of its implementation see Wanted in Rome article.