Karditsa (Greece)

Karditsa is a city in western Thessaly in mainland Greece. Its municipality employs 360 staff full-time. It is legally represented by its Mayor and governed by a board of municipal councillors.

The city has about 40,000 residents, and is also the centre of an agricultural region of 150,000 inhabitants.

It is a small city with a diameter of about 3.5km, allowing people to either walk or use bicycles.

Karditsa is a totally flat city, hence the reason why the use of bicycles is encouraged. It is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in Greece, with an extensive network of bicycle paths (approximately 17.8 km long) and it is considered by many to be the Greek city of bicycles.

The first bicycle path was built in 2003, with the financial support of the Ministry of Transport and with the study being carried out by the National Technical University of Athens. In the year 2014, the most recent bicycle paths were built.

In the current period, new bicycle paths in the city have been planned with financial support secured, while the city boasts a bike-sharing system for residents and tourists that has been in place since March 2013.

Approximately 40% of all journeys in the  city— according to the National Technical University of Athens — are carried out by bicycle, and it is a remarkable characteristic of the city that each family owns 3.5 bicycles on average.

In the spring of 2018, Karditsa came first in the Greek “Bike to Work” competition, with hihg levels of participation among employees of the Municipality.

In 2018, as part of the European Mobility Week, having “Mix and Move!” as its theme, the Municipality pioneered by being the first in Greece to add certain bicycle facilities to local transport infrastructure.

  • In the area of the long-distance (KTEL) bus station of Karditsa, there are now eight bicycle lockers and a bicycle station with a capacity of 16 places,  whilst action is being taken to place a larger communal bicycle station at a distance of only 100m.
  • At the local train station, a bicycle station of 16 places has been added, whilst another station of communal bicycles has already existed for the past 5 years.
  • On urban buses, a three-place bicycle stand is being piloted: this is intended mainly for use by residents of surrounding villages.

The municipality also prepared a two-minute video, informing the regional population about the possibilities and benefits of multimodal transport by combining the use of bicycles, trains, and urban and long-distance buses to and from the city of Karditsa.

Citizens now have the opportunity to travel by train to Athens, Thessaloniki and neighbouring cities for shopping, coffee, work, and a multitude of everyday activities. Individuals with reduced mobility can now use the new modern vehicles of the Urban KTEL Buses Operator of Karditsa for more comfortable transportation.

The Municipality embraced innovation once again by creating the “Carpooling” application on the municipal website for the facilitation of the transportation of citizens to and from the city of Karditsa.

It has also registered all available private and public parking lots, as well as free parking places, for disabled people on a map on the municipal website: this means all residents and visitors of the city are informed.

Lastly, a pilot programme was initiated that involved the placement of stickers on the pavements leading to a kindergarten and two primary schools: these depict to drivers in the shape of caterpillars indicating the way for the safe crossing of streets through.

The Municipality of Karditsa is a member of a considerable number of networks, such as CIVITAS & CIVINET CY-EL – Networks of local authorities promoting sustainable mobility, the Network of Lakeside Cities and Digital Cities of Central Greece.

It is quite notable that Karditsa has managed — through countless actions and during four different administrations — to become the Greek cycling capital and to provide a new model of development for Greek standards, similar to the European ones.

On 29 November 2018, the  Municipality was awarded the silver medal at the Best City Awards 2018, for its extensive network of bicycle paths and the gold medal for the creation of the “carpooling” application on the municipal website.

Watch below a video created by the municipality for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2018. It promotes multimodal transport in and around Karditsa.


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