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Elaborate Athens City Plan will Ban Traffic Over the Summer

ATHENS – A three-month ban of traffic in the center of Athens and other restrictions will be introduced for the summer, taking advantage of two different opportunities, that of a cautious post-pandemic opening to tourism and municipal plans to promote a pedestrian-friendly program, the Grand Walk of Athens.

The ministries of Citizen Protection, Health and Interior have jointly approved Athens municipality's set of traffic proposals through an inter-ministerial decision (KYA) announced Thursday and published in the Government Gazette on Friday. 

These changes in central Athens' traffic flow are part of the new Athens urban development plan to offer citizens and tourists alternative ways of transportation in the capital, Athens mayor Costas Bakoyannis had told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) last week. 

Traffic in Athens' so-called historical center will be affected starting June and through August, affecting the broader area of Plaka as demarcated by Mitropoleos, Ermou, Athinas and Stadiou Streets, and in the section of Ermou Street from Athinas to Agion Asomaton Streets. Stadiou will remain open to traffic throughout the summer.

The ministerial decision also clarifies that Panepistimiou, Filellinon, Vasilissis Olgas, Irodou Attikou and Stadiou streets (from Karagiorgi Servias street to Mitropoleos street) will also see restriction rolling out throughout the summer, so as to improve pedestrian traffic and cyclists. 

Additionally, KYA states that these traffic measures agree with the broader preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, and have been approved by the National Public Health Organization (EODY).

Exempt from these traffic restrictions are: members of the government, members of parliament, mayors, governors, army personnel, as well as Ministry of Health, Civil Protection and medical staff, and the immediate area's permanent residents. Violating the traffic measures carries a 150-euro fine. 

The overall urban development plan for Athens provides for a 6.8 km pedestrian walk (including the capital's historical center of Plaka) and will free some 5 hectares of public space for citizens and visitors, including a bicycle lane on Panepistimiou Street.

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