OPINION

Lack of traffic planning

The idea of «A Week Without Cars» is naive and on a par with the idea of boycotting shopping. Although infrastructure projects are needed, traffic problems in Athens and other cities are due to a great degree to basic omissions. The problem can not solved by producing statistics on the approximate number of cars circulating every day and the number added each year. There is a need to confront issues such as the fact that traffic police are unable or unwilling to enforce the traffic code, drivers’ behavior is uncivilized, and the lack of planning and application of traffic principles. Every hour of the day, serious traffic violations take place in the full view of traffic policemen. Blocking intersections and parking or stopping in traffic lanes greatly limit the capacity of the streets and create bottlenecks. The answer from traffic policeman is: «I know! What do you want me to do?» No comment. Most Greek drivers lack discipline. Behind the wheel, they are transformed into gladiators, violating every traffic rule in order to gain two or three meters. There are no figures on traffic volume on main streets. Without this data, there can be no regulation of the traffic lights, including the duration of green lights. No data exists regarding the purpose of driving into the center and other focal points, whether for shopping, socializing, visiting public services or business. Data such as this is needed for providing parking spaces and traffic restrictions. There is no realistic parking policy or enforcement of existing regulations, a policy on the movement of heavy vehicles or mandatory hours for loading and unloading commercial goods. The authorities have to deal with both short- and long-term solutions, starting with the most obvious. V. Zarboulas, Athens.