Athens moves to draw residents back to city center

The municipality of Athens has blocked off car traffic to another four streets in the city center, handing over the roads to pedestrians as part of plans to draw residents back to the district.

Chysospiliotisis, Nikiou, Polykleitou and Vlahava streets were pedestrianized last week, completing the first phase of a project that commenced in April that involved another four roads being cut off from vehicles. The project aims to add shine to the area by also cleaning up streets, removing graffiti and improving lighting.

"We will not allow more table and chairs (from cafes and restaurants) here, it will not be just for entertainment purposes. We don't want one sided growth," said Athens mayor Giorgos Kaminis in a statement. "We are aiming at getting residents to return to the area while boosting its commercial nature," he said.

The project is an initiative undertaken by the Athens city council, the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation and Bloomberg Associates.