ARE 03 - 07 - 2010

With the apparent world effort to move toward sustainable living must come the desire to do so. Mass transportation helps reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. But how do you convince people to park their cars and use public transportation? Athens, Greece, tried to do this by constructing a subway system and passing laws limiting traffic. Traffic has been, and still is, a big problem in Athens. The bottom image to the right is a busy street passing by Hadrianís Arch. Crossing the street here was quite a chore. The top image is a diagram of parked cars on a street near our hotel in Athens. Cars park on the sidewalks on both sides of the already narrow streets, leaving little room for one passing car or pedestrian. In the wider streets vehicles sometimes are parked next to parked cars limiting the space, again, to just one lane. There is not enough room for people to park their cars, and parking tickets are no longer effective at fixing the problem. People often pay the parking ticket then park there again, paying a lot of money just to park their car. At one time a law was passed to limit traffic to odd numbered license plates on some days and even number plates on others. To maintain their freedom of personal transportation, however, many people bought another car. Recently, Athens has installed a traffic management/security system and what has been referred to as the most beautiful subway system in the world. People still hold on to their independent means of travel, though. They love their cars. In Helsinki vehicles are often one per family and many young people donít have a vehicle. They rely on public transportation, even though the mass transit systems there are still developing and not as big or thorough as other large cities we have been to. There is no subway system, just surface transportation. Similar bus and light rail systems would not be as successful in other cities, but the publicís mentality and relatively conservative way of life makes good use of the transportation systems they have. Helsinki's developing public transportation system is popular among the people living there, oppose to the ignored elaborate efforts made in Athens to relieve traffic on the roads; all because of the way of life and preference of the people living there. The means of more sustainable systems are at a loss without the will to use them. S

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