The least we can do

The fine of 156 euros for those violating the ban on using Olympic traffic lanes is evidently steep enough to avert potential offenders if we are to judge from the lack of transgressions on the first day of their operation. But what was most surprising of all was that there was no chaos on the streets as the media had been predicting; rather, Athenian motorists adapted to the new restrictions extremely well. There were a few small problems at some major junctions but these were to be expected with the introduction of changes and will probably disappear over the next few days. It appears that most of us Athenians have accepted that our ability to endure these minor inconveniences during the Olympic period is the very least that we can contribute to the major international festival that is about to take place. We may have moaned and criticized the excessive spending and the entangled interests in the organization of the Games, but now – with the Games almost upon us – everybody seems to be making an effort to show their best side and ensure that their country makes a good impression. It is interesting to observe that fewer motorists than usual are throwing cigarette stubs and other trash out of their car windows on to upgraded roads. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to unimproved parts of the road network.

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