Greece promotes sustainable transportation during European Mobility Week

08:31, September 20, 2010      

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"Smart transportation, better life" is the main message of an awareness raising campaign launched in Athens and other four cities across Greece this week to promote the use of environmental friendly public transportation and a new life style.

Panepistimiou avenue in the Athens city center, close to the Greek parliament, was transformed into a car-free zone for pedestrians and cyclists for five hours this weekend, as part of a string of events to promote green sustainable transportation.

The events were organized in the framework of the 2010 European Mobility Week, a campaign that runs from Sept. 16 to Sept. 22 in 1,500 cities across the European Union, aiming to encourage the public to act against pollution caused by the increase of the use of cars in urban areas and improve quality of life.

"This initiative is part of our plan to turn Panepistimiou avenue, one of the biggest in Athens, into an area for cyclists, pedestrians and public transportation. We do not want the car to be part of the every day city life anymore," Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili told Xinhua.

The idea is to turn Panepistimiou into such an oasis for pedestrians at least every Saturday in the near future, he added.

Just a few steps further, the City of Athens Philharmonic performed, while people sat in chairs of cafes in the middle of the street and children were getting on buses of the 1950s and were taught basic rules of road safety through playing games.

"We teach children how to safely cross the road, how to behave while cycling or sitting inside a car. It is an interactive educational program. We believe that continuous education should involve family, school and state," Vasiliki Danelli Mylona, president of the Institute of Traffic Safety, told Xinhua.

The institute "Panos Mylonas" was created in 2005 in the memory of her son, a young student who died in a car accident.

According to statistics, 1.3 million car accidents are reported each year in the European Union, causing 39,000 fatalities and 1.7 million injuries.

In 2009 in Greece there were 1,314 people killed in car accidents, 1,389 seriously injured and 12,072 slightly injured.



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