Tartu plans to expand the smart bike circulation launched last year by adding ten new bike lots in different areas, two of them outside city limits.
New bicycle parking lots are planned for example in Karlova, Ihaste, Maarjamõisa and Tammelinn, but also in Ilmatsalu and Märja and on Kõrveküla and Kaupmehe Streets in the territory of Tartu Municipality. Tartu Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm says that the first year of cycling was remarkable for its large number of users and that new parking lots are expected to make cycling more accessible to people:
"Providing people with new urban opportunities from the immediate neighborhoods of the city is certainly important for us and will also help to prevent this negative impact of urban sprawl, and of course what is happening here within the traditional city is important for us."
However, the first negative reaction to the addition of bicycle parking has come from the people of Tõrvandi and Ülenurme, who are asking why the city is not expanding its cycling to Kambja municipality, where there are many who are supposedly interested in commuting with bicycles instead of cars. Tamm replies: "Our strategic view is that the parking lots that are now being built outside the city boarders of Tartu, outside the municipal boundaries, are where it is the responsibility of the local government to establish and coordinate these parking lots. Tartu's municipality has been very concrete, good and active that other municipalities are still thinking a little bit. Citizens could report their interest to the Kambja municipal government."
In addition to adding more bike lots, Tamm says the goal is to increase the number of bikes in circulation. But exactly how many new bikes are coming in Tamm can't say at the moment. "Today it is clear that when new parking lots are coming to the Tartu rural municipality area, there will be some new bikes coming in connection with this. Also, we have directed our thoughts toward the fall to find additional resources to obtain more bicycles. "
Last year, around €700,000 was spent on maintaining the circulation and the wheelsets. Tamm says that in about a month, electric bikes, which are currently on winter vacation, could return to the streets. Looking back to January and December, the electric bikes could have stayed on the circulation, but due to the lack of winter tires, it was more reasonable to wait for spring: "Because we noticed that when slight minus degrees and daytime plus degrees were alternating, it was quite slippery and the pedals of the electric bikes became crooked. This still shows that since we don't have winter tires on the electric bikes, in such alternating temperatures, that it still creates dangerous situations and without the winter tires it's still a bit risky. We'll definitely be thinking about solving these issues for next winter, too, and maybe some of our electric bikes will need to be fitted with winter tires for example. "
Editor: Roberta Vaino