Tartu to launch 'Car-Free Avenue' urban space to bring residents together

A summer concert by the Emajõgi river.
A summer concert by the Emajõgi river. Source: Marek Metslaid

Tartu will create a car-free public space in the heart of the city this summer where residents can gather to strengthen the sense of community and bring together different generations.

On July 3, Vabaduse Avenue will become Autovabaduse Avenue (Car-Free Avenue), and for one month the road in the heart of Tartu will become an urban space where people can spend time. 

The purpose of creating Car-Free Avenue is to enliven the city centre, connect the Emajõgi River and the heart of the city, offer exciting recreational opportunities, bring together different generations, and strengthen the sense of community after the end of the emergency situation.

Mayor Urmas Klaas explained that, since many planned events will be cancelled due to the spread of coronavirus, the city government has decided to offer residents of Tartu the opportunity to gather in the heart of the city and enjoy summer and each other's company in an unexpected environment – in the middle of the road.

Klaas said: "After the beginning of a difficult year, we want to offer people joy and a pleasant urban space. We are creating an environment to help bring more people to the city centre, and this revitalization of the area will help bring visitors to the cafes and restaurants located there."

Everyone looking to have a good time in the city is welcome on Car-Free Avenue – to enjoy a different kind of urban environment, hold open-air meetings or take part in various activities.

There will be a meeting area, beach bar, swings, outdoor reading room, food trucks, picnic areas, picnic tables, market and flea market, nature house and art museum programmes, an outdoor cinema and much more. 

The whole area has been designed keeping the 2 + 2 distance rules in mind, reminders of which are given by the markings on asphalt and green areas.

An entertainment program will be held but not pre-announced, in order to avoid large gatherings.

If Car-Free Avenue is well received by city residents and visitors, it is hoped that it will continue in subsequent years. 

The city government, the Tartu 2024 Foundation, entrepreneurs and many of the city's cultural and educational institutions are working closely together to create Car-Free Avenue.

Car-Free Avenue will be open from July 3 through to August 2.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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