Wooden walkway at Kallithea station before the stairs leading to the platforms.

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📌 Accessibility Study of Kallithea Station

Equality of all individuals in accessing public spaces and the services provided therein constitute legally safeguarded rights, typically fulfilled through the application of regulations and measures. Therefore, the typical requirement of an accessibility study is compliance with legislation. But it’s not just that. Research and development in the field of accessibility design bring benefits to all individuals and are of interest to society as a whole. Today, we go beyond the obligation to implement technical design guidelines for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), such as ramps and tactile guides, and we see the so-called “Design For All” as a substantial architectural tool and source of ideas in the study of public spaces.

At the beginning of the 2000s, when the then Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways (ISAP) reformed the Electric Railways stations, it attracted significant Greek architectural firms that contributed a very interesting series of works, imparting character and identity to the strictly technical design of the facilities. Especially for “Kallithea” station, the renowned “Workshop 66” of Dimitris and Susan Antonakaki did the reformation.

However, after 20 or more years, accessibility needs increased, regulations became more demanding, and there were also damages and alterations, leading STASI (Urban Rail Transport Company) to decide on a pilot project for the comprehensive upgrade of the accessibility of “Kallithea” station.

Είσοδος του Σταθμού Καλλιθέας με σκαλοπάτια χωρίς ράμπα αναπήρων

The study aimed at achieving high architectural quality coordinated with the demand for equal rights in the use and enjoyment of safe and comfortable mobility services for all citizens regardless of their physical condition and characteristics. This general framework of principles was further specialized with design solutions to the problems meticulously and methodically recorded by the NPO “Me Alla Matia” in a project that lasted for over a year!

Specifically, the NPO’s focus group of disabled individuals and professionals with experience in disability, inclusion, and accessibility visited the station and its surroundings multiple times, recording areas in need of improvement as well as good practices in the field.

The present condition, photographic material, and suggestions of the focus group were compiled into a comprehensive report, forming the basis for the architectural Accessibility Study with design solutions. This study was carried out by:

  • Andreas Lampropoulos, architect, Dr. NTUA, project coordinator
  • Konstantinos Vasilopoulos, electrical engineer, NTUA
  • Vasilis Kasimis, civil engineer, NTUA
  • Giannis Lampropoulos, surveyor, NTUA

Upon completion of the project, the following were delivered to the Authorities:

  • Station platform, footbridge, and ground level plans depicting the existing condition,
  • Accessibility Diagram,
  • Station platform, footbridge, and ground level plans depicting proposed interventions,
  • Details of construction interventions for station floors, stairs, footbridge, and surrounding area,
    and Technical Report.

Through these, interventions for functional and aesthetic restoration and enhancement were proposed on many levels:

  • On major access ramps, with obstacle removals and improvements in geometry, materials, and equipment,
  • On station platforms and footbridges,
  • On signage,
  • On mechanical equipment, elevators, lighting,
  • and on the configuration of the surrounding area.

Perhaps the most significant is the consideration for the Circulation Path.

Σε μια από τις εισόδους του σταθμού υπάρχει περίπτερο που δυσκολεύει τη διέλευση των πεζών

Circulation Path

Stations must serve the smooth and comfortable service of the Circulation Path, which includes safe access to the station – whether by foot or vehicle – boarding, disembarking, and exit from the station to the safe transition to the next transportation network, be it pedestrian or vehicular. This circulation must operate with regular flow without interruptions or disturbances to traffic and without disrupting the perception acquired by the passenger for the route from the outset. Hence, it was very rightly requested by STASY to examine the station’s surrounding area, although it falls geographically under the jurisdiction of the Local Authority – Municipality of Kallithea. Thus, in the study, sidewalks and pedestrian pathways in contact were redesigned so that the route to the station is clear and protected from intrusions of heterogeneous elements – such as columns and benches – with a clear and unobstructed visual contact with the destination, with clear signage and intuitive encouragement for appropriate behavior, movement, or stance of disabled individuals and pedestrians in general.

Therefore, good cooperation with local authorities becomes necessary here. After all, stations are crucial nodes in the urban fabric of every city and neighborhood, and thus, the benefits of accessibility projects are dispersed throughout society, as they are essential interventions for the improvement of public spaces.

A key component of the successful implementation of the study is the supervision of its application at all stages, both by professionals in the field and, above all, by the disabled individuals themselves, who are the final users and the only reliable judges of such projects, as correctly emphasized by National Confederation of Persons witg Disabilities (ESAmeA) and its official bodies for the blind, National Federation of the Blind (EOT) and Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PST).

The institutional and substantive recognition of disabled individuals at all stages of the implementation and application of such studies is the only way forward, as we have pointed out in the past, for the real and social success of relevant projects, to avoid problems and failures, as happened with the implementation without our involvement of our agency’s study for the installation of blind guides inside the “Monastiraki” Station.

🙏 We thank the CEO of STASY, Mr. Kottaras, and his associates, as well as the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations (HCAP), who day by day make the human-centered approach to such projects a modern and inclusive, partnership philosophy of operation.

Οδηγός όδευσης τυφλών που κόβεται από τραπεζοκαθίσματα από καφέ.

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