Florentines protest new ZTL traffic rules

Regulations become a hot discussion for all sides

Editorial Staff
May 19, 2005

The new ZTL (limited traffic zone) restrictions (and non-restrictions) seem to be the most debated issue these days in Florence.


Since the new summer restrictions for Florence’s historical centre went into effect last week, they have been met with outrage and protest from all factions of citizens, merchants, and politicians. Although the restrictions may have both positive and negative consequences for the city, the main discord has now come down to a tug-of-war between shop owners, who claim the closure of the city centre to automobiles will only aggravate Florence’s economic troubles, and environmental groups, who believe the city’s pollution troubles ought to take precedence over economic ones.


Protests were held throughout the week by citizens and groups to rally support for their respective positions on the debate.  Last Thursday, residents and merchants of the Sant’Ambrogio area marched through their neighbourhood, protesting that increased traffic closures around Sant’Ambrogio would cost them their livelihood. Meanwhile on Saturday, environmental groups, centre-left leaders, and other citizens took their turn marching through the historical centre in demand of even tighter restrictions on traffic, which they suggest be compensated by the implementation of additional alternative transportation methods, such as electric buses and bike rentals.


Although now criticised from all angles, the City had initially tried to accommodate both of these opposing sides. In order to minimise the ever-increasing pollution levels in the centre, the summer-season traffic restrictions, usually implemented in June, were begun in May. Meanwhile, taking into account the merchants’ plight, it was decided that all traffic restrictions would be lifted on Saturday afternoons in order to allow for comfortable in-town shopping.

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