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Monday, October 31, 2005 

Walking on Roads, Driving on Sidewalks

Who needs parking lots when there are sidewalks?

This photo was taken on a street in my neighbourhood. As you can see, there are no cars parked on the street because they've all parked on the sidewalk. My son regularly walks this street to get to school but he's forced to walk on the road because thoughtless drivers believe sidewalks are their own personal parking lots.

A couple of weeks ago, I demanded (translate "yelled") to know from one driver (as he nearly ran me over in his mad dash to get on the sidewalk) why he was parking on a sidewalk. He simply replied, "my car won't get scratched here", and then off to his house he went.

His car won't get scratched. There's logic for you...children may get killed but as long as his precious car doesn't have a scratch, all is well with the world.
Lack of parking spaces is admittedly, a major problem in Athens but I've been driving in Athens now for years and have NEVER, not ONCE, ever parked on the sidewalk. Granted, if I need to be at an appointment at a specific time, I don't just run out the door 5 minutes before the appointment, I usually leave a lot earlier so I find the time to park in a proper parking space. I do this not because I love to spend 20 minutes to find a parking space but because I empathize with mothers carrying groceries and babies in strollers. I do it because I don't want my own child or other people's children resorting to walking down the middle of a street to get to school. I don't care how busy and pressed for time you are, there is simply no excuse for monopolizing sidewalks as personal parking spaces. This city is dangerous enough as it is without drivers encroaching on pedestrian walkways too.

1. Remove keys from pocket or purse.
2. Hold any key (preferably sharpest) perpendicular to car surface.
3. Press down on car surface and move key in straight line.

At least next time there will be a better excuse than "it won't get scratched".

I am of course joking, I have never keyed a car and consider it the lowest form of vandalism (especially when totally random). However, I have been tempted. A good thing might be letting the air out of a tyre or two (not slashing it). Again, I have been tempted...

hahha a taxi driver once yelled at me... STO PEZODROMIO.. to the sidewalks... where is the bloody sidewalk

hello from athens

a fellow misplaced person


Thano, are you really joking? You seem 'very knowledgable' on the subject of 'keying'. I have to say this doesn't surprise me, your wife is already a founder member of the 'lets blow the hell out of them with a shotgun cos they are beeping their horn' club so this information has given me food for thought.

I'd also like to say that attacking a car is never the answer to this kind of problem. Await the return of the owner and attack them, it gives far much more satisfaction and relief to your frustrations.

As for parking on the sidewalk and/or any other place that isn't considered correct. I'm keeping my mouth shut. The idea of me commenting just makes the words 'pot', 'kettle' and 'black' spring to mind.

We solved our problem a while ago.

My brother is corpulent and of few words. He could be intimidating with his body language alone.

When I see an illegally parked vehicle in front of our entrance, one of my family members will put a clamp on one of the wheels, and a discreet note on the windshield " Please call at flat 5 to have your wheel unclamped".

Irate and fuming drivers repair to the upper floor, we make sure my brother opens the door. His physical presence is sufficient to drain every ounce of adrenalin the delinquent vehicle owner had.
So far we are happy, my brother will not unclamp the vehicle unless the offending driver pays his fine :E20.

The system works. Three weeks ago we pocketed E150. on a friday.

hahahahha Thanos! IF ONLY! IF ONLY! The crazy thing is that 2 blocks from where that picture was taken, is the police station...and all their bikes are parked on the sidewalk too and cars double parke between road medians. I suppose I could let the air out of the tires but with my luck and all the neighbourhood busybodies around, I'd be the one hauled off to the clink. Usually I just yell at them but they're so used to it, they don't care.

and Ellas...like I have time to wait for these people so I can yell at them? I'd never get anything done...so many sidewalks and so many cars? You ARE one of those selfish drivers aren't you? Den drepesai???LOL

Oops! I almost forgot to welcome you, schatzli, to my blog. I would never yell "sto pezodromio" to you...although I can't speak for ellas. LOL

Thissa! You're brilliant! You can comment on my blog anytime. LOL Question: Is your brother for rent? He can have all the money from the cars off the sidewalks in front of my house just as long as he gets rid of them for me. He'd be rolling in the 'lefta' if he visited my neighbourhood...especially the police station.

Oh come on, I'd never actuallyshoot someone with a shotgun. I dream about it, sure. But I'd never do it. I am actually one of those anti-gun radicals.

And Thanos, lol, is the LAST person who would do any mischief making. He won't even let me take Billy Ray, our pet plastic pink flamingo, for walks around the neighborhood. Poor Billy Ray.

Sidewalks in Athens are crap to start with. Put cars on them and they are impossible.

I can hear Seinfeld's response to what the guy told you SeaWitch.

"So it won't get scratched" in a dripping, sarcastic tone.

Heh, I'm a really mild person, I have no knowledge whatsoever of keying cars (half the time I don't know where my keys are).

In all seriousness, I can see both sides of course. It's really frustrating to be driving around for hours (sometimes, literally) not being able to park. Then, a spot, half a spot appears! Legal, illegal, no one cares. I can understand, really I can. I try to be patient with both sides. Still, leave a LITTLE space for pedestrians ;p

Not to mention what people with disabilities are going through. Not only can they not use a pavement because of the parked cars, they can't even park their cars on the special designated parking spaces because they're already taken all the time ("I can't find a anywhere else to park, let's park here. A disabled person will not want to park here NOW of all times!").

Are there actually disabled parking spaces in Greece?!? I think I've seen one in the city and of course some at megastores with big parking lots.

Being physically disabled on Athenian sidewalks is a nightmare to start with. But what does it matter, where is there to go if you are disabled? Steps to get to everything, usually an elevator inside, but how to get IN the building?

This is a problem around Europe, I've heard, so it isn't just Greece. That is maybe the ONE thing America has done right - amends for the physically disabled - as long as Bush doesn't find a way to undo it all.

In the UK they've done some pretty good job too, in Germany they have a good system in place. I don't know abou the rest of Europe. Frankly, when I first set foot in England I thought how is it that there were so many disabled people here and so few in Greece. Little did I know. In Greece you can't get out of your house if you're disabled.

Of course, we have ramps at the pavement and all the necessary signposts, it's simply that the ramps are blocked by cars and laws on this and many other matters are not upheld in general.

disabled parking? and pedestrian? i could see them but sounds like a joke... one austrian tv had this famous athlete being interviewed and asked what was the biggest challenge in Athens.... the pezodromio

Put sidewalkers to work and have them buff the cars and carry the elderly around them. Like Thissa shows, opportunity knocks.

And, Mel, I am actually one of those pro gun enlightened folks. :p

How about....town planning?

My secret fantasy: the city of Athens buys one apartment building in every block and erects a parking garage, cheap rates.

Too right about the disabled, Mel & Steelheart. They've given up, they're totally invisible, nonexistent even. This fight will be waged by women with strollers. Patriotic, after all. A friend of mine, a lawyer, was almost run down with her kids on Dionisiou Araiopagitou, the pedestrian road by the Acropolis. A horde of angry women descended on the car, dented & dinged it all to hell - it was the Italian ambassador, he tried to press charges. Lost.

And someday, the Chinese will open up a sidewalk engineering company.

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