Olympic traffic restrictions start

Traffic restrictions aimed at easing transportation for Olympic athletes and officials come into effect in Athens tomorrow, August 1, so that officials can fine-tune measures in the 12 days ahead of the Games. As special lanes will be set aside for Olympic traffic on many main thoroughfares, in addition to the regular bus lanes and tramlines, officials are hoping that Athenians will leave their cars at home and begin using the new integrated transport system, much of which will be running around the clock. The Olympic lanes, in which only accredited vehicles, special buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed, will be in effect from 6.30 a.m. to midnight. This, however, may change. Fines for entering these lanes have been set at 156 euros. From tomorrow, 2,086 police officers, 395 members of the armed forces, 812 volunteers and 57 technicians will be involved in implementing the Olympic Road Transportation Plan. There will be 217 patrol cars and 295 motorcycle police officers on the roads, as well as 50 tow trucks. Traffic will be controlled from police headquarters, where officers will receive input from 293 cameras across the city’s road network, three helicopters and the airship that has been floating above Athens lately. Officers will coordinate the work of traffic police and will be able to adjust traffic lights and send information to drivers on the electronic notice boards that have been set up. Strict restrictions will apply also to driving and parking around Olympic facilities. The inner zones, from 100 to 400 meters around the facility, will restrict entry to cars while, around this, for another 100 to 1,000 meters, only vehicles with special permits will be allowed to park. Pedestrians are not restricted anywhere but they should expect a strong police presence. There have not been any restrictions placed on cars approaching the port of Piraeus or Athens Airport yet. The normal traffic restrictions in Athens, in which cars are allowed into the center on the basis of whether their license plates are odd- or even-numbered, will apply until August 27.