Traffic management in the historic centre of the port of the Island of Aegina - Greece

Traffic management, an issue for small tourist towns on islands 
The Mediterranean Centre of Environment teamed up with the Aegina Association of Active Citizens to tackle a recurring problem in small port towns on Greek islands, that of managing traffic in historic town centres.
The island of Aegina is just 20km from the Port of Piraeus and home to more than 13,000 people, half of whom live in the capital, Aegina. As the island’s main port, this town retains its picturesque, traditional and pleasant atmosphere for both local residents as well as its appeal for tourists. But, this charm and quality of life in the town suffers from a major problem in the form of urban traffic. Seasonal variations, port activities and a lack of connections with neighbouring local areas lead to peak periods that are difficult to manage. Traffic in the town centre creates jams in the main (but narrow!) streets which lack parking and as such, noise and atmospheric pollution build up.

Video: Learn about the issue

Proposals for change resulting from consultation

The contribution of an international team of young volunteers during the ILE Campus in summer 2014 launched a consultation process.
With the assistance of the local partner association and experts, the volunteers conducted a diagnostic survey of the whole traffic problem and the multitude of uses and modes of transport in Aegina.

Local community participation in the development of a strategy was then supported by:
• meetings with local stakeholders: Mayor, port authorities, tourism and public transport sector representatives, the local shopkeepers’ association, and local NGOs, etc. and the organisation of a round table discussion with local specialists (architects, sociologists, urban planners, etc.);
• online and door-to-door surveys with residents and visitors (almost 400 participants);
• a public workshop to inform and gather opinions and ideas;
• an information campaign using local media.
The resulting strategy was presented in Aegina at a public meeting and then to the municipality.

Problematic implementation
At present, there is an awareness-raising tool for the problem (a 13-minute film) and concrete proposals formulated in 3 scenarios, with different levels of action with varying degrees of complexity and cost concerning:
• developing alternative transport resources;
• improved parking;
• revising traffic organisation;
• promoting cultural trails.
The local population and principle stakeholders working on traffic organisation demonstrated their commitment to this issue, but delivering actions requires the municipality to be involved.

Consultation: a time-consuming activity
In order to offer new opportunities to possible traffic improvements, the Mediterranean Centre of Environment provided the local population and stakeholders with tools developed by the ILE Project.
The municipality is aware of the issues, but had to address a lack of funding and legal constraints to take action. Some ideas proposed from joint working with the population and local experts are nevertheless simple and cheap to implement. They can be easily used by the local authorities so long as they include this problem as one of their priorities and welcome proposals from those using the roads.

This local project was coordinated by the Mediterranean Centre of Environment, with the support of the Active Citizen of Aegina.