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Reckless planning turns Athens into Legoland with withered flowers

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.

“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.

“New proposals: flower boxes washing-dry machine and mini bar…”

Reckless planning

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.

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….

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4 comments

  1. As seen in the picture a cyclist is cycling in the pedestrian lane. The problem all over Athens is absolutely no adequate provision for pedestrians, no respect for their rights to walk on pavements. No right of way at pedestrian crossings where in spite of the green little man showing, often motorists still have the right of way!!!!!

    When are pedestrians going to have one straight-forward law enabling them to cross a road when the light is green, not if or when no motorist or cyclist is not breaking the international rule?

    Parking on roads at intersections where lights allow pedestrians to cross causes the pedestrians to have to walk out into traffic, endangering their own lives. Why is parking permitted to block pedestrians crossing at designated places where lights exist?

    The younger adventurous tourist who would walk around a city (except in intense heat) does not want to see only a few prepared streets, but may like to explore the whole city. Impossible to enjoy a walk unless cars are banned from parking right on the small pavements that are shared with cyclists and motorcyclists.

    This recent intervention to promote cycling and walking for tourists in theory sounds reasonable but in practice just think! What tourist wants to walk in brilliant, blazing sunshine??? Most tourists normally go for luxury not penitence. Cycling in the city presupposes a death wish, any cyclist doing so needs insurance which provides after-care for self and whoever they hit or wound.

    Isn’t it time to give some consideration to the poorest people of the city who are usually women taking their children on foot to school. shopping for provisions with their little ones, elderly trying to walk from home to shop while pavements not only are uneven and likely to trip a person up, but have restaurant chairs and tables, motorcycles parked and riding, arrogant cyclists zooming along as though it were their right on them, making it a hazard and dangerous for pedestrians of any age to use, especially children.

    This added madness of scooters and bicycles speeding down uneven pavements, zipping in and out ad lib is most unhelpful to any one of the public who chance to use a pavement.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      the joke is pavements on Panepistimiou Avenue are among the largest in the city.

    • I too am astounded at the arrogance or stupidity ( I am not sure which one it is, maybe a mix of both) of the majority of drivers. The inability to follow any road rule from driving, using an indicator, staying in a lane, littering out the window, breaking any road rule, parking and everything in between… sometimes done in front of police or not… with so many police standing around smoking or drinking coffee. it is rare that you see someone getting a fine…. Greece needs to wake up and change the way the police the roads, change the way the police work and enforce the law.
      The new bright colours on the roads and the tin flower gardens will look like crap soon.. Some money should have been spent fixing the existing problems on the roads and re painting the white lines for the lanes etc which have worn off the majority of poorly maintained streets.