This underground passageway is shuttered now, and probably has been for years, useful only for collecting trash and attracting graffiti.
|The "sopraelevata," an elevated intersection|
on Rome's east side, completed in 1975
The purpose was the same. As traffic density increased, the elevated highways would carry vehicles over pedestrians and dense urban intersections, and the underpasses would carry pedestrians under busy streets full of cars and scooters. In EUR, the tunnel under Viale America was designed to allow thousands of EUR workers safe access to a Metro stop on the south side of the wide street.
|The Buffalo Skyway, opened in 1955|
But by and large these efforts to deal with traffic's consequences proved unpopular. Just about everyone but us wants to tear down the Skyway, despite the wonderful driving experience it provides. Seattle, adds Dianne, after much controversy is tearing down its waterfront "viaduct," as we Westerners call these things. We don't know precisely why the EUR underground was closed, but we can imagine. Over time, the passage became intimidating: graffiti, the smell of urine, predictable (for Rome) accumulations of trash, the threat of crime. For some, a dash across the street was preferable to descending and ascending long flights of stairs. And in Rome, the descent from sunshine into the unnatural and relative darkness of a tunnel, must have seemed not only odd, but contrary.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.