Gallery: Final day of Tartu 'Car-free' avenue

On Sunday, the city of Tartu said their goodbyes to the "Car-free" avenue set up on Vabaduse puiestee, which closed off one of the main streets of the city to vehicles for a month.

The public space was opened on July 3 and offered plenty of exciting leisure opportunities for citizens.

Marleen Viidul, head of the Tartu city government's department of culture, said: "Autovabaduse puiestee ("Car-freedom puiestee") successfully connected the Emajõgi river and mid-town, bringing citizens to the area to spend time regularly and creating measurable interest among tourists as well. To the pleasure of the organizers, different generations were brought together on the area."

In addition to cultural and educational programs on the "car-free" avenue, picnics and meetings could be held. A labyrinth of swings, a beach bar, outdoor reading room, picnic tables, meadow boxes with diverse flora, food trucks, a meeting area, market and flea market, programmes and workshops, a ping-pong table, an outdoor cinema, and more were also on offer.

Viidul told ERR News on Tuesday: "Feedback shows that we had about 4800 visits every day at Car-Free Avenue. We are satisfied with the result and to us it shows that we succeeded in creating good and comfortable public space."

Asked if the public space would return in the future, she said: "Needless to say the results and impacts of the project need further analysis. The decision if and how the Car-Free Avenue will return will be based on the analysis."

Vabaduse puiestee will be reopened for regular traffic on August 6 as dismantling the facilities will take several days.

On July 19, ERR News wrote that a street in Riga named after Tartu (Terbatas iela) was also made car-free for one month to allow for a culture program and street vendors, similar to Tartu's car-free zone.

All events on Riga's car-free street were, however, eventually cancelled due to the heightened risk of COVID-19 spread.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste, Helen Wright

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