The Paolo Sarpi area of central Milan has become somewhat overrun by wholesale clothing outlets run by Chinese companies and the situation has caused problems for local residents.
Now, after lots of umming and aahing, the Milanese authorities have decided that the only way to overcome the unwelcome effects of turning a shopping area into a wholesale area is the pedestrianise the zone. The pedestrianisation works are in progress as I write.
So far, the conversion of the street seems to be having some interesting collateral effects, in that many of the wholesale businesses are moving away to more wholesale friendly areas. That this central area should have been allowed to become so out of control is rather worrying.
Planning legislation concerning the ratio of retail to wholesale units appears to have been ignored. Now though, the some of the problems caused by the lax application of legislation may be coming to an end. What was once a well regarded retail area may become such once more. This resident hopes so.
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However, resolving one problem could lead to the appearance of a few new ones. Questions which many have been asking are ‘Where will local residents park their cars?’, and ‘Which way will the buses go?’. Such questions are being left largely unanswered.
Apparently the area is going to be monitored by video surveillance cameras to ensure that everything remains orderly. It will be interesting to see if and how the area evolves. I’ve written about the Chinese ‘invasion‘ before, and have noted how the Chinese run businesses have been evolving. Whether the evolution will continue after the area has become pedestrianised remains to be seen.
As for the pedestrianisation itself, it seems a little odd, and initial signs are that the street will be limited to those on foot. Buses and taxis may still be allowed to pass, which is not a great idea seeing as Paolo Sarpi is not the widest of streets.
Regardless of the end results, remember to give those nice new cameras a big smile. And non-Italian drivers should watch out for yet another fine ridden ZTL.