Huge flower boxes made of metal sheet are boiling under the hot summer sun and plants are dying out already two days after they were installed to decorate one of the main avenues in Athens, Panepistimiou street. The installation of the flower boxes is the latest intervention in the context of the Athens Great Walk. With every intervention to confirm that the project quickly moves from one fiasco to the next, due to reckless planning and thus at a very high cost.
22 flower boxes 300x300x100 with sharp corners at €540 each, a little less than the net minimum wage ..
They have been installed since Thursday between the zones for pedestrians and bicyclists and the lanes left for vehicles.
The tin boxes that mirror and shine under the hot Greek sun are supposed to beautify Panepistimioy Avenue between Voukourestiou and Ippokratous streets, a space of less 500 meters.
Right after their installation, a storm of reaction was triggered on social media mainly about the cost and the material they are made of. With temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius, that plants started already to dry out a day later after the installation.
Ρε ανεψιέ, έβαλες που έβαλες τους γκαζοτενεκέδες που τους πληρώσαμε χρυσούς, στραβομάρα είχες να κανονίσεις να πέφτει λίγο νεράκι στις κακομοίρες τις πικροδαφνούλες ; μαράζωσαν κιόλας, δεν τις λυπάσαι ; pic.twitter.com/LQGI2C9Grf
— P.G. Papanikolaou (@PGPapanikolaou) June 27, 2020
“Hey, nephew*, since you put the tin canisters that we paid for in gold, couldn’t you arrange some water for the unfortunate oleanders? They withered, don’t you have pity on them?” wrote one social media user. Athens Mayor Costas Bakogiannis is a nephew of the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
— Magellan (@KostasMagellan) June 27, 2020
“New proposals: flower boxes washing-dry machine and mini bar…”
Complaints came also by bus and taxi drivers, with the first to grumble that the flower boxes do not allow enough space at the bus stops and the latter to swear that there is absolutely no space for passengers to get in or out of the vehicles.
What is interesting is that pedestrians will have to cross the bicycles zone to reach the bus stop or the pavement.
Responding to critics, Athens Mayor Costas Bakogiannis said on Friday that the flower boxes are a “provisional measure” and later they will be distributed to the neighborhoods of Athens.
No Good Morning in Athens
Friday morning, a street artist draw “Good morning” on the cyclist zone. Municipality police called for the immediate removal of the chock painting in a city that feels annoyed by…morning wishes.
Μια πόλη που την ενοχλούν οι καλημέρες.. pic.twitter.com/lPyw1oVpQA
— Άρης Π. (@DelgadoSero) June 26, 2020
Athens, the Legoland
Meanwhile, with the pedestrians and bicycle zones painted in bright colors – yellow for bicycles, green for pedestrians – over the damaged streets, the center of Athens has turned into a cheerful but triste Legoland.
More on the Athens Great Walk and Swearing and the overhaul of downtown Athens here.
PS Wait to see what happens when the benched at 5,400 euros each are installed….