Rome’s Great Bicycle Ring Road, ready to start construction by 2022

Rome is pioneering thought the creation of a 150km transitory cycle route plan, the GRAB (Great Bicycle Ring Road) project. The city’s cycling network, which will be the most important cycle route in the country, is now ready to become reality.

The Italian capital is not just seeking to establish temporary or “pop-up” measures, but rather a “transitory” approach, which embeds the cultural and behavioural change required for long term modal shifts. Exponents involved in the planning of the project virtually came together on July 26, to take stock of the project. The GRAB project will not be just a "simple cycle path" of 50 km, but rather a new way of seeing and experiencing the city. This 360-degree project of urban regeneration is set to open the first construction sites in a few months. During the GRAB presentation conference the advanced state of the project funding and planning phase was underlined. Bicycle is a understood as a tool of real mobility, which thanks to new technologies such as e-bike, has allowed even more accessible to everyone. "The next step will be to create a model for sharing the road between different vehicles, moreover the administrations must dedicate space not only to use the bike, but also to park it. The 250 million euro bike bonus will only be well spent if these new bikes are actually used: it is our job to make this happen” states Riccardo Capecchi, Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility (MIMS) technician.

Specifications regarding the path’s design itself were then given during the conference. The GRAB infrastructure will bring multiple benefits for tourism, the local population, sustainable mobility, as well as  enhancing the greenery of Rome through real connections between the city parks. As Lucina Caravaggi, Professor at the Department of Architecture of the Sapienza University of Rome, states: "We wanted to avoid that the project was the “classic cycle path”, a colored asphalt ribbon that goes from A to B, so we thought of the GRAB as a magic line capable of enhancing the areas crossed. Continuity devices will be guaranteed, so that the path is easily recognizable, but the characteristics of the places will be respected, for example the materials of the project will be different based on the context crossed, a combination of protection and recognition of the path. "

Rome Mobility Services was appointed by the municipal administration to draw up the final project and to follow the project’s various procedural procedures, giving more details regarding the path’s construction itself. The GRAB project will be divided into 6 functional lots, in a way that allows the first definitive projects to be available by the end of the year. The Jubilee of 2025 was taken into consideration when setting the dates, which is why the GRAB is set to be finished by 2024. "In 2022 the various lots will go to tender, so we believe that by 2022 we will already have the first construction sites open" confirms Alessandro Fuschiotto from Rome Mobility Services, .

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This article originally appeared on Bike Italia on 26 July 2021, translated and adapted from Italian. Read more here
The GRAB Project, a 48.6km accessible green cycling and pedestrian ring is planned for 2022, extending throughout the Italian capital and beyond© Velolove