OPINION

Maroussi Olympics?

Kyprion Agoniston Street connects the Douka School with the Sismanogleiou Hospital in Neo Maroussi. I know the street well, as I used to play there as a child when it was just a country road. Today, that narrow two-way street supports all the traffic that once traveled Pendeli Avenue before works began on the Attiki Odos. The other day, I saw a jeep hit an 8-year-old girl on her way to school. We all stood on our doorsteps, staring dumbfounded and angry at a sign, set up at the intersection months ago, heralding the arrival of traffic lights: The unfulfilled intentions of the municipal authorities at that moment coming face-to-face with the anxiety of parents who know that they themselves cannot cross that road, let alone their children. The little girl is in the hospital with back and shoulder injuries. Meanwhile, the Maroussi municipality feels it has fulfilled Olympic specifications by setting up an electronic placard at the bus stop announcing a «pilot project» – «in guaranteeing accidents,» one feels tempted to add. All along this street, posters of the mayoral candidates sneer down at everyday problems – the intolerable condition of the roads. These hidden truths of this aspiring «Olympic» municipality are an allegory for what we should expect from the Athens 2004 Games: flashing signposts heralding pilot programs – and distracting us from roadwork – non-existent traffic lights and the destruction of our neighborhoods…