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Tallinn Seeks New Development Plan for Balti Jaam Area

Source: Photo: ERR

The City of Tallinn is drafting the terms of a new architectural contest for the development of the central train station, outdoor market and surrounding industrial area.

Plans for the development of the Balti Jaam area have been in the works for 11 years, so far unsuccessfully. The biggest conflict involves Reisijate Street - the area between the train station and the market, reported ETV.

The city wants Kopli Street to become a four-lane road and Reisijate Street, currently closed to traffic, to be at least a two-lane road.

“Considering the fact that the properties lining Telliskivi Street would go into use as business properties and apartments, it is important that there be sufficient access. Unfortunately, the current width of the streets does not permit such access. For that reason, Kopli Street must be made broader in the future. What the expansion will look like is currently still open,” said Peep Moorast, director of development plans for the City Planning Department.

Architect Toomas Paaver, a board member of both the Architects' Union and the Telliskivi Society, said he was happy that the conditions of the architectural contest are being coordinated with all parties from an early stage. But he voiced skepticism for what he called “boom-era ideas” because, he said, people in Kalamaja prefer to move around by foot and bicycle.

“We should avoid the mistake that has been made in many of Tallinn's shopping centers, which are very cumbersome for pedestrians to approach,” said Paaver.

Meanwhile, national train operator Eesti Raudtee is interested in preserving the railroad turnaround alongside Reisijate Street. The company also wants to save part of the area on Reisijate Street for the potential addition of up to three platforms in the future.

"This is the only option if there is a need to expand the Balti Jaam [...] If we give up that area of land for the sake of other developments, we will no longer have an opportunity to expand the train station in the future,” said the company's public relations director, Urmas Glase.

Keeping the turnaround as part of the train station would effectively close the end of Reisijate Street, requiring that it be moved onto the market's property.

Critics say that until an agreement on the fate of Reisijate Street has been reached, there is no point in launching another architecture contest.

The previous architectural plan for the area was drafted two years ago, but Tallinn's Culture and Heritage Department rejected the plan because new buildings would have hidden the view to Toompea from Kalamaja.


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