Drama is a small city located in northern Greece with a population of 45,000 residents. Built since the classical era and further expanded during the Ottoman Empire, it has a complex urban structure with narrow streets, unregulated spaces, and little street geometry.

The city’s surface is divided into three sections with different forms and attributes; a) the historic center with narrow streets, small houses and arbitrary structures; b) several areas located in the outskirts of the city center, which have been recently reconstructed; and c) lastly the southeast suburbs which were developed following the grid plan system with low density housing.

Within the outline of the city plan (incl. the aforementioned areas) there are large green spaces, some of them located in the historic center (St. Barbara’s Park and the Municipal Garden). But like in most Greek cities, mobility in Drama is highly car-oriented. The use of the private car is particularly common reaching 88% of the trips, while 6% of the overall trips are conducted by motorcycle.  Few streets have been pedestrianized in the city center, while recent policies in the area include traffic restrictions for access regulation and some bicycle tracks.

The Municipality of Drama in cooperation with the Sustainable Mobility Unit of the National Technical University of Athens – NTUA (Cyclurban partner organisation), has developed a cohesive Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) including a series of measures and actions to improve the mobility of all road users; pedestrians, cyclists, disabled people, public transport users etc.

This plan aims to strengthen public transport and protect neighborhood areas and the historic center from motorized traffic. Critical aspects of the SUMP objectives include the protection of the historic center by removing through traffic with measures such as one-way streets, traffic calmed areas, new street hierarchy and many more.

Set a goal for enhancing/advancing cycling

Drama aims at reducing the number of trips with private motorized vehicles and increasing the trips with alternative means of transport (public transport, cycling, walking).  The objectives of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for Drama include the following:

  • Protection of the historic center by restricting through traffic and highlighting the existing cultural, natural and architectural heritage.  The historic center of Drama aims to be drastically relieved from private motorized traffic, allow lower speeds for vehicles while also increase public spaces for walking and cycling. 
  • Integrating water into public spaces. The rich natural landscape of the city consists of extensive green spaces and streams. These will be made accessable by walking and cycling routes which shall also connect the green areas and the city center, for both leisure and commuting trips.
  • The development of an extensive and continuous bicycle network throughout the city. The current two bicycle tracks will be integrated into an overall network.

The Cyclurban project plans to extend the existing bicycle infrastructure in order to make Drama a bike-friendly city, with a special emphasis on its historic center. The project also suggests specific planning and detailed design solutions for the bicycle network, along with detailed architectural design specifications for the integration of water spaces in the city’s fabric. 

There are various complementary actions to improve cycling. Such actions can include training and awareness raising sessions to the public and road safety improvements for cyclists. These actions and measures shall be tested regarding their feasibility and applicability.

The SUMP of Drama is the first step in the direction towards more traffic sustainability. It includes a number of strategies and measures regarding the development of green routes, traffic calmed zones around schools and other vulnerable facilities and centralities, speed reductions and road safety improvements, new street hierarchy, walking facilities etc. All SUMP proposals aim to improve the overall mobility in Drama. Cyclurban will process the above objectives and provide concrete and detailed solutions for the implementation of bicycle-related actions. The ways for applying the proposed solutions depend on a cost-benefit assessment and the level of stakeholders’ engagement and consent.

The scenarios proposed by Cyclurban are listed according to the level of intervention as follows;

  • Conservative scenario | i.e. road signaling, information and awareness raising actions, low cost interventions etc.
  • A new street hierarchy in the historic center will enhance mobility, accompanied by pedestrianizations through low cost implementations
  • Water resiliency and water space redevelopment will be assisted by stream maintenance projects followed by walking path delineation along their route
  • Cycling will be enhanced through the development of a cycling network consisting mostly of cycle streets, bike lanes and traffic calmed streets
  • Low-cost road safety interventions will include lower speed limits, dense street signaling, awareness raising campaigns and bicycle parking facilities.
  • Moderate scenario | i.e. critical interventions in problematic spots, public transport enhancement, extension of the current bicycle network, information and awareness raising actions;
  • New street hierarchy in the historic center will define an extended traffic calmed area. The proposed green routes will be implemented through infrastructural interventions (sidewalk enlargements, bicycle lanes etc.). Small pedestrianized sections combined with the regeneration of the high street linking the two main green spaces, will allow the unification of the green areas  
  • Similarly to the previous scenario, water resiliency and water space redevelopment will be assisted by stream maintenance projects followed by walking and cycling path delineation along the stream routes
  • The bicycle network in the outskirts can be implemented through cycle streets with a 30km/h speed limit combined with green routes
  • Further actions suggested:
  • Stakeholder cooperation with public transport for enhancing intermodal mobility, i.e. bicycle racks in buses
  • road safety interventions in critical junctions and pedestrian crossings
  • Pedestrianization and traffic calming in streets surrounding school facilities
  • speed reduction through traffic calming and road safety actions
  • upgrading current paths linking green spaces
  • information and awareness raising actions
  • Bicycle parking spaces
  • Optimistic scenario | applying SUMP measures with full infrastructure and policy implementation
    • Extended pedestrianizations in the historic centre and traffic calming in all central arterial roads. Cycling network development in selected green routes. Green urban regeneration of the high street linking the main green spaces in the city
    • Stream banks’ regeneration with exclusive upgraded pedestrian and cycling infrastructure along the banks and linking the city centre to the main attraction nodes and public transport facilities.
    • Extended cycling network with special infrastructure including lanes, advisory lanes, tracks, cycle streets
  • Further actions suggested: Stakeholder cooperation with public transport for enhancing intermodal mobility, i.e. bicycle racks in buses,  upgrading route planning and service levels and introducing small flexible electric vehicles road safety interventions in critical junctions and pedestrian crossingsPedestrianization and traffic calming in streets surrounding school facilitiesspeed reduction through traffic calming and road safety actionsinformation and awareness raising actionsdevelopment of bike sharing system park & ride areas outside the city centre and linkages with the centre through public transportation and bicycle sharing systems  Bicycle parking spaces

All the above will be implemented through the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of Drama.

All the above can be categorized as follows;

Infrastructure: bike lanes, bicycle parking facilities, linking and unification of green spaces, green route enhancement

Planning: cycle streets, policies to promote bike sharing & cargo bikes, new street hierarchy

Marketing: information and awareness raising actions in schools and stakeholders, European Mobility Week, Cargo bikes for SMEs

Services: upgrade of public transport’s level of service, enhancing intermodality between public transport and cycling (infrastructure, policies, bike sharing)  

Political support: SUMP, Sustainable Urban Development Plan, European Projects, events with strong political supports, engagement of decision makers in mobility strategies