A controversial pedestrian zone in the commercial triangle of central Athens

Within the next few weeks Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis will officially announce the decision to turn Athinas Street into a pedestrian zone. Traffic and town-planning studies are already being conducted by the Unification of Athens Archaeological Sites SA (EAXA). The initial announcement in 2008 met with some objections, mainly from storekeepers who were concerned it would alter the character of the street. Similar plans for other roads encountered opposition in the past, but Athinas is not just any street. Together with Stadiou and Ermou streets, it forms part of the commercial triangle of downtown Athens. In the 1990s, it was announced that the triangle would be closed to traffic. Bars were put in place to block cars from entering, but the ban was never enforced. Athinas is above all a shopping street, dominated by the central market, which gives the street its color and creates a need for traffic management. It is also an intermediate zone between the new city and its historic heart. Kathimerini asked two experts on architecture and town planning for their views.

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