16 - 22 September is European Mobility Week. Hundreds of towns and cities from countries across Europe are participating, except for - Greece! Well, actually, one town is participating (in a half-hearted way) - Lamia. But apart from that, the traffic in Athens will most likely be like the photo below - immobile! 358 towns from Spain, 375 from Austria, 155 from France....and Greece?? Perhaps their minds are all on getting votes at the upcoming national election!
During European Mobility Week people are invited to participate in a wide range of activities promoting sustainable mobility. The campaign theme this year is "Improving City Climates", underlining the importance of local level efforts to tackle climate change and improve quality of life through the promotion of alternative transport modes to the car such as cycling, walking, and public transport as well as clever car use schemes such car-sharing and car-pooling.
By adopting "Improving City Climates" as the 2009 focal theme, European Mobility Week wants to establish a link with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen by demonstrating that citizens and local authorities have a key role to play in the fight against global warming by fostering a radical change away from private car use and towards more sustainable travel. By doing so, they also help to improve the quality of life at the local level.
Stavros Dimas (ironically, a Greek!), Commissioner for the Environment, stated:
"Private cars are large emitters of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They also seriously affect the quality of urban life. It is therefore important for public authorities and citizens throughout the European Union to adopt more sustainable modes of transport. Doing so would help reduce the impact of climate change and improve the living conditions in our towns and cities."
Last year, Budapest received the top award for its activities in European Mobility Week 2008. You can see a short video about it here.