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5 projects will make Athens more accessible for people with disabilities

5 projects will make Athens more accessible for people with disabilities

Mayor Bakoyannis acknowledged the municipality’s omission of such initiatives until now

On Thursday 16 September, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis welcomed the athletes and members of the Greek delegation of the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo. At the Serafio Sports and Culture Centre, he rewarded them for their impressive participation where they won 11 medals in total.

Bakoyannis expressed his gratitude on behalf of the municipal authority as he praised the Paralympians. More importantly, however, he admitted that the City of Athens has made many mistakes over the past several decades. That is, he acknowledged that it is extremely challenging for those with disabilities to move freely as the city has not done enough in terms of accessibility.

Addressing the athletes, the mayor announced the municipality’s plans to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities: “We want you to feel free in the city, like in stadiums and swimming pools. You deserve the respect of the city.”

Five initiatives to improve quality of life

Before revealing the upcoming projects and plans, Bakoyannis noted that “there are no magic wands” and that it will take a long time to implement the new initiatives. Following this, he introduced the five projects that are expected to improve the quality of life in Athens.

First, the city seeks to install accessible infrastructure in schools in order to help students who suffer from mobility impairments. In particular, Athens will build accessible toilets in 236 schools and install ramps in 185 schools. If the installation of ramps is not possible in certain buildings, the city will invest in elevators.

Second, the municipality will apply strict design standards for the smooth movement of people with disabilities in all of the capital’s new projects. Third, the city will repair 400 sidewalks using a budget of 24 million euros. Fourth, it will equip the swimming pools in Goudi and Kolokynthos with state-of-the-art elevators and new wheelchairs.

The last project entails the installation of 900 sensors on ramps to hinder anti-social parking that obstructs paths. When a driver parks on a sensor, the police will receive an alert and take action to resolve the problem. Project trials will begin on 27 September. From mid-October, the system must be fully operational.

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