July 15 2014

Do Pedestrian Zones Exist in Athens, Greece?

Perceptions regarding social life are often constructed based on people’s interests. There is an old Greek saying which states, “the law is the workers’ right.” Nowadays, this saying has been so generalized that it seems that “the law is anyone’s right.”

Plaka, Athens, Greece

During the winter, the pedestrian zone “Palas” was transformed into a catwalk where traffic wardens did their best to facilitate several ministers that were arriving at Voukourestiou Street with their expensive black cars.

Dionysiou Areopagitou seems to be this summer’s catwalk. Several people chose to take this street to visit either the Acropolis Museum or Herodeion. The ones who boast for facilitating pedestrianizations and the connection of Athens’s archaeological sites are the ones who negate the pedestrian zones with their actions.

It is not unreasonable that many shopkeepers see all these examples around them and bow to arbitrages. On Chatzichristou Street many shopkeepers place large objects and cones in front of their shops, and sometimes they even leave stools and have someone sit outside the store. Almost no one dares to park in these spots, as it is unlikely to find their car unharmed afterwards.

Pedestrian zones, Athens, Greece

Car drivers fortunately don’t use Makrygianni Street, whereas two-wheel motor vehicles seem not to obey any restrictions. On Amalias Street there are buses, opposite to the Temple of Olympian Zeus, that pick up and leave tourists throughout the day. During the summer heat the drivers even leave their buses’ engines on to avoid turning off the air-conditioners.

On Valaoritou Street cars are prohibited. Nevertheless, at night there are some drivers that decide to take a shortcut and use this street.

Agiou ioannou agia paraskevi, Athens, Greece

Cars on pedestrian zones, Athens, Greece

If this is what is happening in some of the most central areas of the city (we won’t even start about what is happening on busy Ermou Street), think about what may happen in other tourist areas. Lately, we hear a lot of people in authority talking about cultural tourism. We should consider that cultural tourism requires culture in our everyday life. It requires respecting the institutions and the people around us.

Are there any pedestrian zones in the city you live where people tend to neglect the prohibitions and misuse their vehicles?

Original article, originally published in Greek, here.

Credits: Data and Images linked to sources

Dafni Dimitriadi

Dafni Dimitriadi is a student of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her numerous experiences in participating in architectural competitions have helped her understand the importance of research and design. She is interested in building and urban design restoration and aims to continue her studies in order to gain more knowledge related to these fields. She is an active volunteer and has participated in many interesting projects, including Open House Thessaloniki. She currently lives in Thessaloniki and through her blogs aims to explore developments associated with architecture and urban design.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 at 9:49 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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