Clearing clutter from sidewalks just a first step

On Monday, Attica police began making more changes to improve road safety. The emphasis in the city center will be on making life easier for pedestrians, whose movement on the already narrow sidewalks is blocked by obstacles such as parked motorcycles, store signs, planters placed arbitrarily, crates left outside stores and kiosks. Brigadier Tzekis said that traffic police will be working with municipal authorities to clear the sidewalks so that pedestrians will not have to put their lives at risk by walking in the road. The municipality of Athens has often taken decisions to construct parking areas for motorcycles, but these decisions have never been implemented. The move to clear the sidewalks is linked to the recent decision to impose fines on jaywalkers, who often have no other choice but to walk in the path of traffic. In September, when the measure went into effect, police issued 5,979 warnings and imposed 121 fines. By October 21, another 328 warnings were issued and 176 fines. It appears that pedestrians are getting used to the idea, or are at least wary of paying fines. The other problem being confronted is the movement of overloaded trucks, dangerous because any load over that allowed for the particular type of vehicle can lead to accidents if they brake or change direction suddenly. The Attica Traffic Police has acquired two portable systems to weigh truck loads. These systems, which use the latest technology, will be placed on police vehicles stationed around Attica. License plates will be confiscated automatically from any trucks found to be carrying more than the permitted load. It is expected that trucks will soon be banned from entering the city center. Initial consultations are being held with the Environment and Public Works Ministry on this issue.

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