Ranks of plane trees to line Athens avenues

In a long-overdue drive to add strong patches of green to the pavements of the capital’s main streets, Athens municipal officials have begun planting plane trees on central Panepistimiou Avenue, the city council said yesterday. Water-guzzling plane trees will also be planted on other major streets ahead of the August Olympics, in a program which a city council statement said will give the thoroughfares «a European character.» The plane trees – which municipal officials say are of a kind whose roots go deep underground, and will thus not cause damage to sidewalks and road surfaces – will replace the bushes planted along Panepistimiou Avenue earlier this year, as well as a line of 20-year old sycamore trees that were killed off by the winter frost. The city council has announced plans to plant some 10,000 trees. Yesterday, it said 7,500 are already in place.