Conclusion of Memorandum of Cooperation among the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport, the Municipality of Athens, ATHENS ANAPLASIS S.A. and ATTIKO METRO S.A., in the framework of the construction of the Athens Metro New Line 4 – Section A’ “Alsos Veikou – Goudi”
The Minister Kostas Karamanlis stated: Metro Line 4 signifies a more beautiful and humane city – Not a single tree will disappear; instead, 2.700 new trees will be planted
The Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis stated: “We broke taboos. We are following the European attitude and we are ready to implement a critical project for Athens and the Athenians”
The Memorandum of Cooperation signed among the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport, the Municipality of Athens, ATTIKO METRO S.A. and ATHENS ANAPLASIS S.A. specifies common actions to be taken during the construction of the Athens Metro Line 4, the objective being dual: for the works to cause the minimum possible disturbance to the daily lives of the citizens and for Athens not to lose a single tree, but rather to be embellished with more trees.
The Memorandum of Cooperation for the Athens Metro Line 4 was signed today at the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport by the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport Kostas Karamanlis, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyiannis, ATTIKO METRO S.A. CEO Nikolaos Kouretas and ATHENS ANAPLASIS S.A. CEO Chronis Akritidis.
The Deputy Minister of Infrastructures George Karayiannis and the Chairman of ATTIKO METRO S.A Nikolaos Tachiaos also attended the event for the conclusion of the subject Memorandum of Cooperation.
In the event for the conclusion of the Memorandum of Cooperation, the Minister K. Karamanlis stressed as follows: “We are making one step beyond, a particularly important step for the construction of the project that will drastically improve the daily lives of the residents of Athens”.
We are making the most decisive step towards the right construction of this major project. We show, in practice, how projects must be constructed in Greece: by joining forces, summing up know-how, experience and effort and working all together for the benefit of the citizens and our country”.
The Minister of Infrastructures and Transport explained that, through the Memorandum of Cooperation: “We agree on the actions that have to be undertaken by each and all stakeholders, so that our new Metro Line that residents of our city are longing for will be constructed:
as expediently as possible,
causing the minimum possible disturbance to the citizens,
lessening the burden caused by construction activities to the neighborhoods of Athens and the daily lives of their residents,
at no environmental cost, but encompassing clear environmental benefits, in other words, more instead of less trees,
ensuring the utmost protection for the artistic and cultural works situated in the worksite areas,
and, finally, making the completion of Line 4 to landmark not only a more humane but a more attractive city”.
Basic information on the project
The Minister K. Karamanlis referred to certain basic information about Line 4 project:
It is the greatest public project that will ever be constructed in Greece, against a budget of EURO 1.2 billion.
It is the same project that the Government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis succeeded to unblock, despite the fact that – when handed over to us – it seemed like an unsolved puzzle. “However, the puzzle was solved, the project was unblocked and now – as we speak – the Metro works in Athens have resumed after so many years”, as the Minister stressed.
The Minister of Infrastructures and Transport stated that he considers Line 4 to be the most significant project over the last 20 years in Athens, along with the project of “Attiki Odos”, since Line 4 will definitely change the daily life of the citizens in Attica Basin and give a great boost to the economy.
As the Minister stressed, “Those of us residing in Athens know, at first hand, how important the Metro is for our every-day life. However, if we compare the number of Metro stations in Athens to the respective number in Madrid, for example, we will realize that our country is lagging behind”. He continued adding that in Paris, the average density of Metro stations is four stations per square km of urban environment, while in Athens, along with the new stations of Line 4, the average density will be one station per square km of urban environment.
The Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyiannis
On his part, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyiannis said the following:
“Expressing the feelings of the Athens Municipality team, I would like to say that today we are very pleased and we feel enthusiastic about the fact that together we are making a huge and significant step for the city of Athens.
The Memorandum of Cooperation that we have signed represents a new culture and mentality, wishing the local government and the central State to supplement each other – each stakeholder acting within the field of its responsibilities – and to build team synergy: “Top-down” approach for the State and “Bottom-up” approach for the Athens Municipality.
I would like to extend my warm thanks to the political leadership of the Ministry, to Mr. Karamanlis and to Mr. Karayiannis, who did not hesitate to break taboos of the past and opened new horizons in the most decisive way. Allow me to express my utmost thanks to the management of ATTIKO METRO S.A. and ATHENS ANAPLASIS S.A..
Today, we moved from theory to practice and we are now dealing with everyday reality and quality of life of the residents of Athens. First of all, this extremely large transportation project whose environmental benefits are very important is not simply a European project.
It is a project whose implementation will follow the European mentality and will respect environment and greenery. Environmental balance will be ensured not only for the next decade, but for the entire duration of the project construction.
Secondly, respecting public spaces is proven in practice through the construction of the project. It is now commonly accepted that we cannot allow losing not even one square meter. Thirdly – and allow me to dwell on this point- we have already scheduled the conduct of tenders for architectural works. In other words, at the beginning of the project we are getting prepared for its completion, at the very beginning of the cycle we are planning its termination. And although this is not a common practice – at least as far as of the public sector in Greece is concerned – this is the practice that our city definitely deserves.
Dear Ministers, we would like to thank you once more for this exceptional cooperation exhibited from day one at all levels, which we can all be proud of since we do credit to the Athenians and the trust built”.
Deputy Minister of Infrastructures and Transport, responsible for Infrastructures, George Karayiannis stated as follows:
Deputy Minister of Infrastructures made the following statements: “Line 4 is the greatest infrastructure project even constructed in Greece; the city of Athens and its residents must be united for its construction to progress in an unobstructed way”.
He stressed that “the Memorandum of Cooperation signed today provides for the utmost protection of public spaces and ensures that the Metro is an environment-oriented project, whose (environmental) balance will be positive after its completion. Moreover, the planting of 2,000 additional trees in the city of Athens will be financed.
This Memorandum is the outcome of cooperation among all stakeholders; it has been signed further to long discussions in which different points of view, objectives and other bureaucratic issues have been successfully overcome”.
The Deputy Minister also stressed the twofold interventions on the part of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport: “On the one hand, we are executing projects of major transport value for the capital and the whole country and, on the other hand, we are implementing projects that constitute model urban extensive and innovative redevelopments, as for example the projects for the Extension of Line 2, the Thessaloniki Metro, the Flyover etc.”.
What does Metro Line 4 mean for Athens
Line 4 has been designed aiming at serving many densely populated areas in the center of Athens; for this reason, provision has been made for the construction of new stations at nodal points of the city center, such as Exarchia or Kolonaki.
Practically, the first train trip in 8 years from now entails:
53,000 fewer private vehicles,
energy saving by 1,216 Megawatt hours (MWh)
lower carbon dioxide emissions by 318 tons.
The first section of the project, whose construction has commenced, is 13km long. It begins from Alsos Veikou, it is directed to Kypseli, Dikastiria, Exarchia, Kolonaki, Evangelismos, Kessariani, the University Campus in Zografou and it terminates at Goudi. It passes through four (4) Municipalities and accommodates fifteen (15) new Stations.
Seven (7) out of the 15 stations – especially those in densely populated areas – are situated in the Municipality of Athens. This is the reason why the Memorandum of Cooperation was deemed necessary.
Mr. Karamanlis stressed as follows: “It is understood and it is anticipated that such a major project constructed in an urban environment, at specific locations, can cause certain temporary difficulties in the daily lives of the citizens. We make a commitment to minimize these difficulties as much as possible, to limit same at a local level and to ensure that they will be as short and as mild as possible”.
Mr. Karamanlis continues his statements adding that: “Besides, I also live in the centre of Athens, near a Metro station and I know from personal experience how difficult construction works can make our everyday lives, but also how significantly improved our lives and the lives of our families can be once this major project is completed and commissioned”.
Seven commitments to the residents of Athens
As mentioned above, the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport makes seven commitments to the residents of Athens:
- To work at a rapid pace and together without displaying selfishness and without “passing the buck”. This is the way how to make major projects reality,
- To ensure that the construction of this project will not deprive Athens of any trees. On the contrary, more trees will be planted; in particular, more than 1.300 transplantations will be made and 2.700 new trees will be planted,
- To have the worksites installed in spaces as locally confined as possible and aesthetically upgraded. Every necessary work must cause the minimum possible disturbance,
- To ensure that traffic arrangements are implemented and relevant information is timely provided,
- To provide the utmost protection for the artistic and cultural works in the city,
- To ensure that every Metro Station completed will be followed by the redevelopment of the surrounding area by means of new urban equipment, new electrical lighting and greenery, thus, making Athens an even more attractive city, and
- Finally, to deliver a modern, environmental friendly and completely operational project that will actually change life in Athens.
Responding to questions raised by journalists, the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport Kostas Karamanlis, made the following statements:
About EVANGELISMOS Station
“EVANGELISMOS is a very important Station and works progress normally based on our planning. This is a transfer station where two lines actually intersect. Therefore, now there can be no turning back. Most worksites and all preliminary works have already been implemented and completed. The TBM will soon commence its work. Thus, there are no second thoughts and the MoC signed today is the tangible proof of evidence. The Metro project will be implemented in an optimum manner, causing the minimum possible disturbance. We, on our part, during the construction of the project, will take actions never taken before in Greece”.
About EXARCHIA Station
“In recent years, the Municipality of Athens and the Ministry of Citizen Protection have made a very coordinated effort, so that citizens can change their long established point of view about the area of Exarchia. We, on our side, have already made the necessary opinion polls and we will not take any step back. I would like to assure you that the commitment expressed by both the government and the Prime Minister himself is that we will not take any step back”.
About the aforesaid issue, the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyiannis made the following statements:
“It is very clear what certain people are trying to achieve in the area of Exarchia, but now the masks have come off. They are trying – and this is a world first – to politicize and ideologize this particular METRO Station, as if Metro trains belonged to left-wing or right-wing political parties. This will not be acceptable, because neither the Athens Municipality nor the Government – as I am sure of it – can allow the lives of the residents of Exarchia to turn into a tool and the residents themselves to be taken hostage in order to satisfy any of the petty-political self-interests or obsessions. Over the last two years, the Municipality has been working effectively with the residents in Exarchia and in the remaining 128 neighborhoods of Athens”.
About the eventual cost increase, due to war or other circumstances, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis stated as follows:
“We will deal with all problems that might arise and we will intervene, as necessary. However, be reminded that the revised Law 4412 that we have voted integrates a procedure that will progressively be automated. I assure you once more that the least we want is for the projects to be blocked, especially now that contracts for these projects’ implementation are signed all over the country; contracts amounting to 6.5 billion have already been signed by our Ministry, while additional contracts whose budget exceeds 3.5 billion are to be signed again by our Ministry”.
About the financing of actions provided for in the subject Memorandum, the Minister of Infrastructures and Transport stated the following:
“The Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport has undertaken the financing of all these actions. This is something ought to be done by the central government and this issue has never been under negotiation or discussion with the Athens Municipality, since it falls under the responsibility of the Greek State and the central government. The financing amounts to approximately 7 million EURO and the fund resources will be obtained from the public investments program”.
About this issue, Mr. Bakoyiannis stated as follows:
“During my 12-year term of office in the Local Government, I have worked together with many Governments and Ministers. It is the first time I met a Minister acting in such a way. I would like to sincerely thank him in public, because he seems to understand that real problems call for real solutions, that we should not invoke easy excuses and alibis and that we must be effective”.
About the architectural works related tenders concerning the future configuration of the squares where stations will be constructed (Kypselis, Exarchion and Kolonakiou Squares), the Athens Mayor made the following statements:
“Provisions have been made for the conduct of tenders concerning architectural works for each square where a new Metro station will be situated. We are talking about the landmarks of our city, about squares with history, cultural and social significance. All we want is for the final outcome to be worthy of not only the past but also the future”.
As far as the land use control in the sited stations, Mr. Bakoyiannis stated:
“We are in contact with the Technical University of Athens for the preparation of a design that will take into consideration the transport and regional / town planning effect of the stations. International experience has proven that a Metro Station can indeed affect an area or even a neighborhood at a distance of 1,500 meters. Our Municipality’s position is more than clear: we stand for combined uses, since we consider that the practice of monoculture is wrong and even dangerous for the city of Athens, in the medium and long–run. We believe that co-existence of combined uses forms the soul of the city. And regardless of the changes in the city’s character, its soul must be preserved”.
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Transplanting activities Photography Pictures: