Syntagma goes under the knife

By the end of next week, work will have started to refurbish central Syntagma Square under plans that will reduce traffic lanes while adding more greenery to the area, officials said yesterday. At the square’s lower end, on the pedestrianized Ermou Street, two fountains will be installed on the intersections with Nikis and Voulis streets, while trees will be planted in between, architect Yiannis Kalantidis told journalists. Kalantidis heads Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens SA, a government body set up to supervise what for decades seemed impossible: the transformation of the city center into a greener, cleaner, prettier, pedestrian-friendly area. The new-look Syntagma Square will have three instead of seven traffic lanes, while bus and trolley stops will be moved to Filellinon and Othonos streets. Work should be finished by April, at a budget of 2.05 million euros. And Kalantidis said amendments will be made to Omonia, which was radically redesigned at a cost of 1.99 million, following a public outcry – with which, he conceded, he agreed – at the square’s new form.