A group of town planners were recently asked by the Organization for Athens Zoning, which is addressing a series of issues as part of a general overhaul being planned for the Greek capital, to ponder what Syngrou Avenue could look like if it was not a high-speed dual carriageway.
The scientific team (Yiannis Polyzos, Yannis Tsiomis, Panayiotis Tournikiotis, Costas Moraitis, Cristiana Mazzoni, Eleni Haniotou and Thanos Vlastos) that explored the possibilities for transforming Syngrou, which links central Athens to its southern coastal suburbs, believe that the avenue does not need to have five lanes in both directions, given that it begins and ends with two lanes on each side.
?Many cities are redefining the role of main arteries that have become highways. The objective is not to exclude vehicles, but to find a way so that cars, pedestrians and bicycles can coexist at speeds that are suitable to an urban environment,? explained Tsiomis. ?In Paris and in major cities in Germany, the speed limit on such roads does not exceed 30-40 kilometers per hour,? he said in reference to the fact that the speed limit on Syngrou is 100 km/hour.
The proposal drawn up by the group, which is only being submitted for consideration, foresees making Syngrou narrower in order to allow for bigger sidewalks on either side, and also for traffic lights to be placed at its southern end instead of the spaghetti junction that exists there now, so that it becomes easier to go from one side to the other.
While nothing is expected to be done anytime soon with Syngrou Avenue, the Athens Zoning Organization is ready to launch a European tender for the pedestrianization of central Panepistimiou Street by the end of June.