Friday 24 September 2010

Thessaloniki, Greece, in the 2010 European Mobility Week

Within the framework of the European Mobility Week, several public and private bodies have started initiatives and are collaborating on the topic of urban mobility. In Thessaloniki, a series of activities and events aim at sensitising the public and raising awareness on issues and the promotion of public transport and alternative modes of transport. Greater Thessaloniki is member of Energy Cities.

Municipality of Thessaloniki
On the “Car Free Day”, held on the 22nd of September, the Municipality of Thessaloniki is organising events in central areas of the city with the participation of athletic and artistic teams. The day’s detailed schedule is:

  • 17.30-18:00: Cycling for all (cycle tour in major central streets).
  • 18:00-18:20: Gift draw (skateboard, helmets, T-shirts).
  • 18.30: 65 cyclists will draw a truck for a distance of over one-hundred metres in a central street. A band called “La Marine Brass Quintet” will follow this action playing music.
  • 18.30-22.00:Theatrical events.
  • 19.00-22.00: Trampoline and climbing slopes that are free for children and a skateboard demonstration by professional athletes.

Moreover, the Municipal Department of the Environment will be distributing plants symbolising the need to develop environmental awareness which among others includes the choice that every citizen makes with regards to transportation means.

Finally, the Municipal Band will accompany these events plying music across the main streets of the city centre, while the Department of Traffic and Municipal Police will contribute to the smooth conduct of events and the traffic management in the city centre.

Other entities taking action in Thessaloniki for the European Mobility Week are: Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority (The PTA) and Organisation of Public Transport (OASTH), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the free press magazine Parallaxi and the Commercial Association of Thessaloniki. The detailed actions and events organised by each entity are described as follows:

Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority
The initiatives that are undertaken by the PTA on that day are:

  • Free public transport from 16:00 until the evening.
  • Launch of two express bus lines to facilitate the faster transfer of people to the city centre.
  • Creation of a quiz including 10 questions on public transport, The PTA, OASTH, etc. The quiz is uploaded on The PTA and OASTH websites and people who answer correctly will participate in a prize draw for 25 OASTH travelcards.
  • 900 regular and 600 reduced price bus tickets will be offered to users of the Mobility Centre of Kalamaria on Wednesday, the 22nd of September.
  • Production of a TV spot to be presented on local TV channels promoting the EMW messages and the use of Public Transport in Thessaloniki.
  • Posting information messages pre-announcing the EMW and particularly the Car Free Day on variable message signs (VMS) of the Ring Road of Thessaloniki. Similar electronic messages will be shown within the buses and the "smart" OASTh bus stops.
  • Cooperation with the Rector of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki about organising some events within the Campus and celebrating the 1st "Campus Car Free Day".

On Wednesday the 22nd of September, some major central streets will be closed to cars for a few hours and will be accessible only by pedestrians, cyclists and public transport means.

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
The University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), wishing to become the first “Ecological University” of Greece, has launched an effort with primary objective to progressively restrict the use of private vehicles within the campus while strengthening alternatives, more sustainable forms of mobility and energy consumption.
Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority (The PTA
As a first step AUTH invites all the members of the academic community to leave their cars on the 22nd of September and arrive at the University using environmentally friendly means, i.e. public transport, bicycle or foot, thus enabling the realisation of the 1st Campus Car Free Day.

The area of the campus will be closed to all cars during the whole day and a series of actions will take place within it. Additionally, in order to reduce the use of cars, given that the entrance of cars within the campus will be prohibited, the University launches two bus lines that will run on the following short routes: a circular route that links the university campus to a close parking area and a circular route around the campus.

With this initiative, AUTH sends to public the message: "A single car-free day this year, many car-free days in the future for better quality of life."

Parallaxi, the largest and oldest free press magazine in Thessaloniki, takes often several initiatives in order to mobilise the creative forces of the city and create synergies aiming at bringing out a more sustainable image of the city. Various events will be organised under the general title “A Different Day, A Car-Free Day”.

In the afternoon of the 22nd of September, the city centre is transformed into a pedestrian zone full of alternative transportation means, cultural activities and walkers. The heart of the city bounded by streets Angelaki, Svolou, Ermou, Venizelou and Proxenou Koromila is turned into pedestrian zone for four hours (18:00 to 22:00).

Some of the pedestrianised streets are thematically reformed, as follows: the street of playing, the street of transports, the street of music, the street or architecture and arts.

Theatrical acts
The National Theatre of Northern Greece puts on a play two performances in four different areas of the city centre:

18:30 at Al. Svolou-Dim. Gounari and 19:30 at Aristotelous – Ermou “Road-Words”: Six actors of NTNG interpret in public open space several poems and abstracts of prose works written by men of letters coming from Thessaloniki.

20:00 at Ag. Sofia Square & 21:00 at Arcade opposite Hesperus “Him and Him”: The show that was loved by the city.

20:30-22:00 Inside Kapani Marketm: Thessaloniki International Film Festival invites the public to watch movies relevant to transportation.

Thematic Walks
Explore the city on foot: Konstantinos Sfikas will organise three thematic hourly walks downtown.

Commercial Association of Thessaloniki
In order to contribute to the public mobilisation and to encourage people to participate in the above events taking place in the city centre, the Commercial Association of Thessaloniki has decided to allow the operation of commercial stores on Wednesday, the 22nd September afternoon. It has also advised store owners to implement special low prices to their products for these days.

Moreover, the Commercial Association has agreed with the city’s sailing clubs to let the sailing boats float in the sea and dock at Aristotelous Square, illuminating the autumn night.

Finally, in order to facilitate these events, the City has agreed to allow the residents to park their cars at a central parking area free of charge by supplying the residents with a parking card.

All these public and private bodies invite all citizens of Thessaloniki to participate in the European Mobility Week events, leaving the car at home and using public transport means.

Further information:

Christina Paschalidou
Transportation Engineer MSc
ThePTA - Thessaloniki PublicTransport Authority

by Olivier Lagarde on 24 September 2010 / 2054 visits

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