ATHOC has overly optimistic approach to transportation

Transportation plans for the Olympics by the Athens 2004 Transport Division are overly optimistic and will be difficult to deliver to the city’s residents, according to NTUA Assistant Professor Yiannis Golias. The technical university academic told Kathimerini that «public transport speeds have been calculated on the basis of optimistic figures. Particularly in the Olympic ring, where members of the Olympic Family will be be moving at speeds of 60 to 70 kmph (37 to 44 mph), this means that the capital’s residents will meet with huge difficulties in crossing the city’s main arteries.» «That is, traffic lights will be fixed in such a way as to virtually forbid transection of the Olympic ring. This means, in all probability, that Athens districts will probably be cut off.» Golias also felt that estimates of bus speeds were «wholly unrealistic. These have been calculated at 50 kmph (31 mph) within Athens, with buses passing at intervals of five to seven minutes.» These speeds and time intervals are based on calculations of what is needed to best serve Games spectators. «My belief is that the roads, even with the best traffic signaling, cannot handle such speeds, and therefore the Organizing Committee should draw up plans based on more realistic figures, so as to avoid unpleasant surprises,» Golias said. Non-existent corridors Special pedestrian corridors around large sports complexes are also deemed inadequate by Golias. «If we calculate that the stadiums must empty within two, at the most, three hours, that means that the corridors must be wider, even for just a few days, in order to handle large numbers of people and prevent them from being trampled. This hasn’t been planned yet. «And if the Organizing Committee continues to treat the issue so optimistically, it might never deal with it.»