The PE4Trans Action Plan for Thessaloniki was fine-tuned during the 5th and final stakeholder group workshop which was successfully realized by AUTh in Thessaloniki, Greece, in November 2021. It comprised the final step of the participatory process of elaborating and drafting the regional Action Plan. Thus, the aims were:
(i) to fine-tune the content of the document and decision-taking on proposed actions,
(ii) to discuss on the next steps of the implementation,
(iii) to sum up the involvement of the citizens showing them that the result of their engagement is going to be implemented.
The meeting was split into two consecutive virtual parts due to the protection measures adopted against the COVID-19 pandemic. It took place in the form of a Citizens Panel, being attended by the same group of citizens who participated in the previous meetings as well, which is great evidence of success of AUTh’s efforts to keep them engaged and motivated.
After a short reminder of the outcomes of previous Citizens Panels, the final suggested improvements of the actions were co-created through an online collaborative software with the participants. According to the productive conversations that took place during the meeting, some main points and aspects were highlighted and the relevant proposals were co-shaped:
- Additional communication channels for direct and transparent communication between the Transport Authority and the citizens, e.g. via open digital applications for the submission of complaints. However, there is the need to check the validity of citizens’ submissions and the truth.
- Exploitation of the virtual engagement of citizens regarding the anticipated restructuring of the bus network in view of the metro construction lines.
- Involvement of the urban freight delivery companies, their relevant associations, and employers, e.g. meetings with their boards, engagement with the implementation of the actions, campaigns targeting retail-store owners. E.g. such a campaign could raise their awareness on the impact the shopping activity has in the traffic situation and conditions.
- Inclusion of people with disabilities in all actions, e.g. special rallies with bikes for people with vision problems (tandem bikes) and/or wheelchair users.
- Inclusion of prospective cyclists and people who are not familiar with social media, e.g. via adding seminars, activities with physical presence such as workshops etc.
- Promoting road safety, e.g. by involving traffic policemen on bikes, as well as by encouraging a culture of mutual respect among road users.
- Other aspects of this discussion included: the horizontal signalling, the increase of the width of the cycling lanes, the creation of a seamless cycling network (without gaps), the absence of adequate infrastructure.
At the end, the participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the activities of the PE4Trans Greek Citizens Panel in Thessaloniki and their wish this committee or a similar one to continue the structured consultation on urban sustainable mobility issues for the benefit of the city, its residents and visitors and its businesses and stores.
During the last session, they exchanged ideas and views in a more free and unstructured way trying to find and share fields of common interest in order to keep in touch with their panel-mates. Some of them discussed the possibilities of supporting one another in their ongoing activities, focusing on issues related to sustainable mobility (e.g. raising awareness on pedestrians’ needs and walking issues, informing and training on people with disabilities, such as wheelchair users and blind people, promoting on virtual talk-shows the need on sustainable mobility education and training within the schools’ curriculum, etc.).
More information for the territorial Greek Citizens Panel of the PE4Trans project: www.facebook.com/SumvouleutikiEpitropiPolitonPE4Trans/