Make way for millions of pilgrims coming soon to Rome; city to expand sidewalks wider for them

Make way for millions of pilgrims who will be coming to Rome soon. How to do that? Make the sidewalks wider.

That's Rome's strategy to handle up to 30 million extra pilgrims who are expected to pour into the city starting on Dec. 8 for the special Jubilee of Mercy year declared by Pope Francis.

Mayor Ignazio Marino, a surgeon who moves through the city on a bicycle, says pilgrims should expect to either walk or pedal to basilicas along special routes instead of taking tour buses.

Among the initial preparations mentioned in local newspapers on Thursday are the widening of sidewalks along the routes, many of them leading to St. Peter's Basilica, and the creation of bike lanes.