NEWS

Sprucing up main roads in central Athens

Apart from the three major works, however, the package of refurbishment projects for the 2004 Olympic Games includes a further 93. Of those, work has started on eight; studies have been assigned for another eight; studies or preliminary studies have started on 18; eight have been completed; eight will be completed within the next six months; six are in the final stages of being studied; and six are being included in the package. Among the rest, six inactive quarries are being reshaped, another five are being planted, and six more will be refurbished by 2004. Among the 96 works are projects for sprucing up other major arteries such as Vouliagmenis, Kifissou, Athinon, Iera Odos and Petrou Ralli, as well as downtown streets such as Panepistimiou, Academias, Patission and Alexandras, where DEEAP is responsible for the work. Studies are still in progress on most of these. Polyzos explains that if sprucing up streets like Panepistimiou and Academias is not linked with plans for a tramway, the image of the city will not change substantially because it remains susceptible to traffic congestion. The package also includes works being managed by the Unification of Athens Archaeological Site firm, such as reshaping Kolokotroni, Adrianou, and Mitropoleos streets and Monastiraki and Syntagma squares. It also covers work in Metaxourgeiou, Psyrri and Plaka, Stadiou and Panepistimiou streets, and street lighting and building restoration. Two new works which were not part of the original plan concern the Kerameikos Culture Park (the Third Square) and the Koundouriotika or refugee dwellings on Alexandras, for which endless plans have been made over the years. The Third Square, in the run-down area around the Kerameikos archaeological site, is scheduled for sprucing up. The trolley bus depot will move to Rouf, the old produce market will be expropriated and the Metro work site is to become an underground garage. The planned 14-hectare area is as large as the National Garden. And the Koundouriotika, on a 2-hectare site opposite the Panathinaikos Stadium, will be done up and joined to what is now the Elpida Hospital. Some of the refugee dwellings will be preserved for historical reasons.