NEWS

Tackling illegal parking

Illegal parking, one of the worst problems on Athens streets, should be dealt with by stricter policing of main streets, with stiffer fines for offenders and the construction of underground parking garages, according to traffic experts at a conference titled «Parking in the Country’s Metropolitan Areas,» organized by their association this week along with the Technical Chamber of Greece. «Over 35,000 cars park illegally in Athens’s inner traffic ring alone,» said Giorgos Yiannis, the association’s president. «And the problem will become worse in the next decade, as the car ownership ratio is to increase by about 50 percent, nearing the average in major European cities, where there are 600-650 for every 1,000 inhabitants. The traffic experts propose the following six measures: a comprehensive strategy for controlling stopping and parking, with the participation of all relevant authorities; action by local governments; an effective system of monitoring parking, taking the particular characteristics of each district into account; transfer points on the city’s outskirts; municipal underground garages solely for the use of local inhabitants; and a solution to the problem of parking motorcycles, vans and trucks, as well as the use of new technology to inform drivers. According to research data presented by Professor I. Frantzeskakis of Athens’s National Technical University, and traffic expert M. Frantzeskakis, illegal parking reduces traffic access by 14-15 percent. Banning parking also would reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 39-77 percent. By July 10, 7,000 seasonal workers will have been hired for firefighting and forestry protection.