Thessaloniki

In Thessaloniki (Greece), associations of the civil society locally active also in the sustaining the rights and needs of disable people, as well urban planning experts and multidisciplinary place maker groups have been involved by the Metropolitan Development Agency in order to co-create a co-design a best solution for the upgrading of the most important penetration axis of the city. 

Tags: Participative process, Urban Mobility

CHALLENGES ADDRESSED
  • Traffic congestion 
  • Air and noise pollution 
MAIN OBJECTIVES
  • Redesign/upgrade of an urban axis based on the principles of SUMP with a high-participatory approach.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The vision and objectives were developed taking into account the results of a wide public consultation that recorded stakeholders’ and citizens’ opinions and relevant experts’ technical suggestions and specific requirements. 

By focusing on a human-centre design, the redesign approach considers the urban axis not only as movement channel but basically as a common urban place. The regeneration program included measurements and green solutions that upgrade the quality of neighbourhoods’ life and improve the micro-climate along  the axis.

Objective: Redesign/upgrade of an urban axis based on the principles of SUMP with a high-participatory approach

Case study: Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia Region - Greece

Time dimension: Temporary solution (6 months)

Methodology: The "Horizontal Condominium"

Partner responsible: Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki

Execution date: September 2017 - March 2018


Description

In the framework of REMEDIO project, an important urban axis of the city of Thessaloniki that faces congestion issues has been studied. This Axis extended from Ethnikis Antistaseos Av.- Vasilisis Olgas Av.-Vasileos Georgiou str. (entitled East Horizontal Axis) bisects the southeast part of the compact area of the city of Thessaloniki, connecting the airport with the city centre. With a total length of 6.2 km it passes through two Municipalities, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the central Municipality of the city, and the Municipality of Kalamaria in the south east compact area, with a population of 325,182 and 91,518 inhabitants respectively. The area is characterized by high building densities, with predominantly residential buildings up to 8 floors and a netto residential density over 400 inhabitants/Ha. It is one of the major commercial streets of the city, a locus of shops and retail, practically functioning as a linear centre of a wider compact built up area with high densities, which also expands linearly along this axis.

Based on the principles of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning, a proposal for the integrated redesign of East Horizontal Axis that includes its upgrade with a 2nd generation bus lane has been put forward through a high participatory approach that included:

  • the development of a vision for the axis
  • the identification of the objectives of the upgrade
  • a public consultation to record stakeholders' and citizens' opinions and suggestions
  • technical processing with relevant experts (academics and practitioners) of the city

The integrated redesign of the selected urban Axis, has been formulated as an ongoing smart model, transferable to other urban Axis. The vision and objectives were developed taking into account the results of a wide public consultation that recorded stakeholders' and citizens' opinions and relevant experts' technical suggestions and specific requirements.

By focusing on a human-centre design, the redesign approach considers the urban axis not only as movement channel but basically as a common urban place. The regeneration program included measurements and green solutions that upgrade the quality of neighbourhoods' life and improve the micro-climate along the axis.


Results & impacts

The final proposal includes:

A proposal for the redesign of the axis, that :

  • increases the visibility and separation of the bus lane
  • introduces a 2-way, bicycle path of 2,5 meters width
  • serves taxis, waste collection and loading and unloading needs along the axis
  • increases parking spaces (and introduces parking spaces for the disabled)
  • extends the existing pavement and reduces the length of pedestrian crossings by up to 30%

and proposals for the upgrade of Public Transport and infrastructures (technological and physical) of the axis, such as:

  • introduction of electromobility in public buses
  • construction of smart bus stops ü bus priority in traffic signals
  • improvement of pavement material quality
  • installment of surveillance systems and development of an immediate intervention mechanism
  • use of the bus lane in emergency situations

A detailed microsimulation model of the selected proposal for the upgrade of the axis has been set up (including the elements of the proposal that have to do with the reduction of normal traffic lanes of the axis, the separation of the bus lane, the introduction of bus priority and the replacement of busses with electric ones) and its impact on traffic along the axis -versus current situation- has been assessed.

In addition to testing the proposed axis operation with current traffic load (same O-D, same modal split), three scenarios where also tested; a 10% increase of private car use, a 10% decrease of private car use and a 20% decrease of private car use together with an increase (doubling) of bus frequency.

 
Lessons learned
  • active involvement of stakeholders in planning helps create ownership of the solution
  • a clear message is needed to mobilize relevant actors

 


To know more about the implemented action in Thelassoniki (Greece), check these videos: