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Herculean defeat for ‘pedestrianization’ in Athens

A busy street in Athens. Pedestrians, watch your step! (Ttatty/

As New York and other cities make strides on “pedestrianization,” Athens is taking a giant step backwards. Athens-based Kathimerini reports that the cradle of western civilization — and an influence over countless cities worldwide—dropped plans to prioritize pedestrians along a main thoroughfare.

Greece’s highest administrative court halted the ambitious project permanently. It would have replaced the five-lane Panepistimiou Street with four lanes reserved for bikes and walkers, and a fifth for buses and trolleys, Times of Change, another Greek publication, reported here. A tramline would have been extended through the downtown.

Late last year, the European Commission objected to the use of EU funds for what it deemed a “decorative” endeavor. It argued that funding should be prioritized for urgent needs, such as completion of a trans-European highway system. The ​78.5 million Euro (US$ 88 million) project had been planned since 2010 and was scheduled to be completed next year. Kathimerini is distributed in Greece with the International New York Times.


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