July 24 2013

Cheating on Vespa with BikeMi in Milan, Italy

Since the late 1700s, cities have been impacted by the different means of transportation that they provide. Urban planners have increasingly faced challenges in adapting infrastructure systems to accommodate new forms of mobility. One of the issues nowadays is the dense presence of the bicycle in the city as a form of sustainable transportation.

Private owned bicycles as means of transporation Milan, Italy

In MilanBikeMialong with private owned bicycles, has started to overrun the city. The bike-sharing program began in 2008 and is aimed at promoting sustainable mobility that supplements the traditional transport vehicles. These bike stations are implemented in key locations like train stations, the historic center, and business districts. University programs such as Campus Sostenibile are also bringing BikeMi to their neighborhood as a way of promoting sustainability.

But even if the program is quite popular, there are still some issues that urban planners need to take into consideration.

One issue is that Milan requires a proper network of bike paths. The city has a very dense urban structure, and this makes it hard to adapt for a new mobility system like the bicycle. The current routes in place are disconnected and awkwardly grouped, and lack connections between stations.

BikeMi Sharing Station at Piazza Duomo, Milan

Another aspect regards accessibility to the service. Citizens and tourists argue that BikeMi is complicated to use “on the spot.” This is due to the fact that you have to first access the website and register of the service online, which restricts one from the ability to spontaneously rent a bike.

In Italy, scooters are currently the most used alternative to the automobile. But it appears that the bicycle is ready to take over Italian cities with the introduction of bikesharing programs. TurinRome, and Verona have also adopted a more sustainable transportation system by implementing bike-sharing.

At a global level, these types of sustainable mobility programs are already very developed in cities like ParisLondon and Washington DC, while Copenhagen is an example of a cycling city. But most cities still face issues when it comes to redesigning a proper infrastructure that can integrate the use of the bicycle.

Do you think bicycles will help shape the form of the city in the future?

Credits: Photographs by Alexandra Serbana. Data linked to sources.

Alexandra Serbana

Because of her strong background in Urban Planning and Design, from her bachelor’s at “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, in Bucharest, Romania, Alexandra decided to pursue planning from the perspective of policy and decision-making. She is passionate about traveling and experimenting with new cities, and moved to Milan, Italy where she is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Urban Planning, Policy, and Design at Politecnico di Milano. The experience of working and living in the multicultural city of Milan has sparked her interest in the reaction of urban places to new real-estate developments, as well as conflict resolution for urban design projects that reorganize urban city life. She hopes to make an improvement on the way cities deal with physical urban changes and their effect on the quality of social and environmental life.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 9:32 am and is filed under Environmental Design, Infrastructure, Transportation, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


3 Responses to “Cheating on Vespa with BikeMi in Milan, Italy”

  1. Vespa Accessories Says:

    Interesting article, But you know you can never beat a Vespa ;).

  2. Alexandra Serbana Says:

    Italians made the Vespa so fabulous, I`m sure they`re going to think of something for the bicycle in the future :)

  3. The Italian Rush: Does Noise Define the Milaneze Lifestyle? | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    […] espresso before going to work, while the evening is driven by the traffic congestion and the anxious Vespa and car drivers who abusively honk their horns. The diverse means of public transportation (metro, […]

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