31 January 2011

Just another Winter day

Like every year, at last traffic stops were decided this winter too!
Yesterday cars and trucks were  forbidden to circulate because of pollution, but PM10 kept staying above the limit, so the block will continue (although limited to the most polluting categories of cars) until the air becomes breathable again and pollution remains under limits for at least three consecutive days... Which might need many days, unless some providential rainfalls or snowfalls help the situation.

Luckily  I don't need the car for work, and I seldom use it in the city, so I hardly notice these limitations... But they are very annoying for people living in the hinterland as public transports are quite bad as soon as one leaves Milano, and car is often the only alternative!
Milano is no worse than most other cities as far as traffic is concerned, but the problem is that it lies in a plain where winds are almost non-existent...Windy days  are really a rarity in Milano (and I'm glad of this, as wind often gives me headache!) and this blocks all the pollution over the city...It can be even seen from the upper floors of tall buildings on sunny days in winter!
I can't see any easy solution for this problem, as the city has grown like all the modern cities, centralising services and offices, so that most people live very far from their working place, and far from big shopping centers (which seem to be the only form of shops that can survive the crisis) and from everything...Modern cities seem made so that apparently you can't get anywhere on foot. When I was a child, in my neighbourhood all the basic services and shops could be reached in a few  minutes on foot... Now I have to take my car and drive for 15 or 20 minutes (or spend 40 minutes on buses or waiting for them ).The city has grown in a way that makes cars a necessity... Then we die of air pollution and must stop the traffic periodically to keep things under control. I wonder whether cities will change again one day, or we will remain slave of cars (and of traffic blocks) forever...

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