Pedestrian area on the main street of Catanzaro, Parisi: decision after a qualified comparison


By John

«Yesterday afternoon I participated, as a simple listener, in an interesting meeting held in the municipal house between the commercial operators of the Historic Center and the Mayor Fiorita. The subject of the meeting was the establishment of the pedestrian area. I’ll say straight away that, in my opinion, the meeting demonstrates how citizens/commercial operators, when asked, want to “participate” by making significant and important contributions. It was like this yesterday too. During the meeting I had the opportunity to appreciate the courtesy and competence with which our commercial operators expressed their reasons in front of a large presence of members of the municipal council. All the operators were in favor of closing traffic on Corso Mazzini and therefore the establishment of a permanent pedestrian area. However, everyone conditioned their yes on the “preliminary” implementation of specific activities and measures to be implemented immediately. And this, in all honesty, was precisely what I, too, expected to hear from Mayor Fiorita.” This is what the municipal councilor of Rinascita stated in a note, Gianni Parisi.

«Everyone, I imagine, was waiting to understand what path this Administration has designed for the future and for the relaunch of the historic city center. Unfortunately – continued Parisi – we were all disappointed. It was not possible to understand how, when and with what resources the “revolution” of the historic center will be implemented. A double barrier positioned at the beginning and end of Corso Mazzini cannot be enough to “establish” a pedestrian area. And, to tell the truth, even following specific requests made both in the City Council and within the competent Commissions, I was unable to obtain answers on the matter. And so here and, truly, without a polemical spirit, I say to the majority: let’s get to work concretely to mark a clear change of tone, let’s take immediate decisions that can make our historic center seriously attractive. However, any decision cannot ignore a qualified discussion on the topic. You cannot improvise as mobility experts, commerce and urban marketing experts. There are professionals who do only this in life and who certainly have a more serious and competent vision and approach to problems.”

«It has been said for a whole year – highlighted Parisi – that the Saturday pedestrian area represented an experiment (I add on the skin of the traders). So I ask myself, before making decisions, did we consult the data from the experiment? Whoever said that it was an experiment (i.e. the Mayor and the Council) bothered to verify the results of this experiment? Has the performance of the business volumes of the individual activities been verified (perhaps on a sample basis)? Has the increase in the use of public transport (funicular and AMC vehicles) been verified? Has the use of private and public car parks been monitored? How can we think about a pedestrian area, the redevelopment and regeneration of the social and economic fabric without having first modified and implemented, for example, the regulations on decorum, dehors, the occupation of public land and above all the new Commercial Plan? What are the active policies to support commercial activities and/or incentives for the settlement of the youth population in the city centre? no concrete news on the establishment of the Urban Free Zone already present in many Calabrian cities and which would be very convenient for commercial activities”.

«It has not yet been possible – according to Parisi – to carry out a complete discussion, although formally requested several times together with colleagues Donato and Veraldi, on the lines of development of a new commercial plan which must provide significant choices not only for the sector, but for the entire city. The adoption of a new trade plan is the preliminary act to any choice and must be a set of options, prefigurations of actions, opportunities, conditions, but also of desirable limitations for new investments in trade. An integration of the interventions must be planned, understood as an inter-sectoral vision between trade, tourism, craftsmanship and use of cultural heritage. A strong relationship between food, commerce and places of culture which, more generally, consistently promotes and increases the flow of people into the city. The Plan must constitute a valid tool to overcome all too evident critical issues, to give new stimuli to the sector, to improve the offer in the name of innovation and quality. It is necessary to be aware of tackling commercial planning with an innovative spirit, with a more innovative planning effort that takes into account, for example, the propensity of young people towards new business models in the tertiary sector. It is necessary, immediately, to start a discussion, in the places designated for this purpose, which involves, in a dynamic and new scenario, all the actors, the municipal administration, the operators and their associations, but also the citizens. The objective must be the timely development of solutions to bring about the change of pace that we all hope for.”