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Athen plans to ban SUVs from the city //at 00:41 //by abe

from the Shit-Utility-Vehicle dept.

According to this Spiegel Online article Athen plans to “ban offroaders” from the centre of the city with the beginning of September 2006. Since the Greek governments argues about the traffic space these cars need, their drivers “only being posers” that have “nothing to do than driving around all the day”, I suspect, they mean SUVs and not offroaders. At least here in Germany, you usually don’t see offroaders in the cities, but a lot of Sport Utiliy Vehicles which usually just pretend to be an offroader (Wired, Guardian) but are perfect for parking with one or two tires on the sidewalk.

As outrageous as this sounds — it may have a real and reasonable reason: SUVs are usually bigger than other cars (especially in Europe), they need more parking space and have bad turning circles. They often have to back just to turn left or right in Athen’s narrow alleyways. Because of this, they are accused to cause most of the traffic jams in the centre of Athen

I’m still not sure, if I should believe this news, although SUVs are some kind of enemy concept for me. Why only SUVs? Why (AFAIK) also small offroaders like the Suzuki LJ or SJ? Why not being consequent and taking the Paris of ’50s (or ’60s? Can’t remember and Google and Wikipedia didn’t help…) as an example and creating a Zone Bleue (“Blue Zone”), in which only cars may enter, which have appropriate dimensions.

“Zone Bleue”? Back in the decades after WWII, Paris had problems with big lorries in the city, so Paris’ introduced the Zone Bleue (AFAIR) in the inner city, which was restricted to vehicles with a floor space less than 5m² or 6m² or so, so even some French car makers started build special “Zone Bleue” versions of their delivery vans with bumpers closer to the van body, tunneled rear lights and rolling shutter instead of outside lying sliding doors. And often high roofs for raising their capacity. (The only “Zone Bleue” van I found pictures of on the net was this Citroën HY Zone Bleue Pickup. You can best see the unusual rear bumper and the tunneled rear lights on the lower left picture.)

But back to Athen: Another reason which makes me sceptical about that news is that neither the Englisch Google News nor the the German Google News (also tried several other search terms…) finds any other news about this except the above mentioned Spiegel article.

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This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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