Athens clamps down on illegal parking

Municipal policemen in Athens issued more than 8,000 parking tickets in less than a week this month, Sunday’s Kathimerini has learned, as part of a drive to stop these kinds of traffic offenses in the city center.

The tickets were issued between January 10 and 17, during which time the officers also removed the license plates from 851 cars. Under the law, when a parking offense is considered to cause a serious obstruction, the plates are removed from the car and the driver cannot recover them for a certain period, which means the vehicle cannot be used. The motorist also has to pay a fine.

The figures indicate that a significant clampdown by authorities on illegal parking is taking place. The seriousness with which the municipality seems to be taking the issue is evident from the fact that during the whole of last year, officers removed license plates from only 619 cars. Also according to municipal sources, the local authority did not seek to collect payment from any penalties issued from February onwards last year.

«We will not accept irregular parking,» said Deputy Mayor for policing issues Tassos Arvantinis. «I believe that pedestrians and the more vulnerable groups of society, such as mothers with strollers, elderly people, blind people and those in wheelchairs, should be our priority.»

The City of Athens said that it has noted a 25 percent rise this year in the number of people buying pay-and-display cards for the areas of the city center where there are designated parking bays that are monitored by inspectors.