Rome bans cars near ancient forums, says Colosseum can't be a 'roundabout'
A woman walks along the Fori Imperiali avenue, with the Colosseum in background, in Rome on Aug. 3, 2013. (AP / Riccardo De Luca)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, August 3, 2013 11:11AM EDT
ROME -- In a bid to protect its ancient glories from modern perils, Rome is banning cars and motor scooters from the boulevard that slices through the city's ancient forums toward the Colosseum.
Traffic police started enforcing the new restrictions at dawn Saturday, diverting private cars and motor scooters to side streets, so they will no longer clog the Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Only buses, taxis, bicycles and pedestrians will be allowed on that boulevard, which was constructed in the 1930s by dictator Benito Mussolini so military parades could roll past reminders of the ancient Roman empire.
Mayor Ignazio Marino announced the ban shortly after his election in May. He says the ban will stop the Colosseum from being a traffic "roundabout" and reduce pollution.
Sidewalks have been widened so people can stroll in leisure down the boulevard.