Builders must budget for cars

Anyone proposing to build in the greater Athens area and its environs will have to provide at least one car space for every 100 square meters of building, under new draft legislation intended to ease the capital’s horrific parking problems. The draft presidential decree presented yesterday by the Ministry of Public Works will affect new houses and blocks of flats, supermarkets and shopping malls, office blocks, banks, shops, schools, hospitals and entertainment venues. It covers the entire prefecture of Attica, except for the Elaionas industrial zone in western Athens. New homes will have to include space for at least one car for every 100 square meters, which works out to about one space for every flat. Office buildings, banks and shops must provide one parking space for every 60 square meters of built-up area for plots of up to 300 square meters – or, under certain circumstances, up to 500 square meters. On larger plots, such buildings will have to have one space for every 50 square meters of built-up area. Shopping malls and supermarkets must create one parking space for every 15 square meters of built-up area, while the ratio for restaurants and pastry shops is one space per 35 square meters, and for casinos and nightclubs, one per 20 square meters. Theaters, cinemas, concert halls, conference halls and exhibition venues will be obliged to create one space per 35 square meters, while the ratio for hotels is one space for every six beds. Certain restrictions already apply to existing nightclubs, which, especially in central Athens, create major traffic problems by customers parking their cars with general impunity on pavements, squares and even on central streets. However, these regulations have still to come into effect.