Bologna is quite literally closing for the summer and even beyond, or so it would seem from the never-ending barriers to prevent traffic and pedestrians from moving around the city. Narrow metal corridors are herding people through the streets making it a nightmare to navigate. Imagine therefore how families, people with disabilities and the aged must feel about getting to the shops, and that’s not even considering the fact that these road works are actually planned to last 10months until Christmas time.
Business leaders and local shop owners are of course up-in-arms about the potential loss to their incomes. “The roads in via Rizzoli, have suffered from half a century of use and subsequent interventions, as well as those in via Ugo Bassi, now paved over so they must be returned to their ancient splendor.”*
However, after the recent controversies of T-Days, which incidentally have not quietened down yet, this recent slap in the face to local business owners has did little to quell the increasing anger towards the comune. For this reason, many organizations have sprung up to beat the local council into some sort of retreat/ease of ‘tax/rent /commercial charges’. And to a certain degree, successful meetings have been held whereby the roadworks have been split into more phases so as not to grind the city to a complete halt.
German tourist, “There’s a plethora of signs, machines, and all sorts of fences blocking you from going anywhere. It’s crazy. And of course, it’s all in Italian.”
The map indicates most of the current road works in place around Bologna. It’s a bit like Packman but with real people and local livelihoods being consumed by hungry construction companies directed by the Comune di Bologna.
Another consequence of the roadworks is the space being consumed by engineering machinery and construction vehicles.
Unfortunately, the summer will see no let up in the chaos. Once the holiday season hits town, things are only going to get worse as the Bolognese and most Italians head for the coast. Tourists are really going to feel welcome then. Not.
One thing is for sure though, just when the rest of northern Italy is preparing to welcome the world to Expo Milano 2015, Bologna La Grassa, will be on a very strict diet. The inevitable cost in economic terms has already tipped the scales towards possible court action against the comune by some big brand names. It’s going to be a hot, sticky summer.