Are there good aspects in Athens? Many. What is Athens missing? A lot. One of them is the support of pedestrian traffic. The major part of it is the lack of signs for residents, passers-by and tourists walking in a city that only has street signs for the vehicles that dominate it. In the framework of the global trend of reducing car traffic in the city centre, many European authorities facilitate the movement of pedestrians, not only by the use of smartphones but also with the placement of informational signs and maps that guide them to points of interest and indicate the needed time to walk there.
For its design, a 40×70 cm size sign was chosen, fitting a list of 6 directions, written in both Greek and English, showing the walking time to the landmarks in a small circle. The font size is big and bold, in order to be easily read. The signs were put up at 2.5m high and their background color is green, which is common for visual signage, worldwide, helping passers-by identifying them easily.
Thus we decided to make a start in our own city: WalkAthens! Signs, informational signs that guide pedestrians around. It proved to be a demanding work: after a month of research for appropriate signs nodes that can include many important directions, we ended up with 15 points, where we put our first signs. The signs define the area “National Museum-Omonoia-Syntagma-Monastiraki-Thiseion-Psiri-Vathis sq.” that is almost equally used by both Athenians and tourists. On a Sunday morning, only five of us with the 15 signs and a ladder walked the area to share with the city something not only useful but also nice.
Above all, this is a gesture that adds to the friendliness of the city, and brings the pedestrians closer to the positive character and the historical and architectural wealth of the centre of Athens. On your next walk, look up, find new places and walk around our unique city!