'Car-free Avenue' revived economy, attracted people to Tartu

Tartu's Car-Free Avenue.
Tartu's Car-Free Avenue. Source: Maanus Kullamaa

An analysis carried out into the effect of Tartu's Car-free Avenue (Autovabaduse puiestee) has shown that 150,000 visits were made to the area and it was well received by locals and tourists.

Feedback from citizens of Tartu and people from neighboring municipalities shows 70 percent of those asked thought the project had been worthwhile.

Young people between 17-24 were particularly positive about it with 42 percent saying they would like to see it become a permanent fixture in the city.

Feedback gathered from 25 companies showed 85 percent of respondents said the project had revitalized the area. 55 percent said the number of visitors to their company had been better than expected and 64 percent of respondents confirmed their company's turnover in July was higher than expected. 

Car-free Avenue had a positive effect on domestic tourism when compared to July 2019, as there was almost 7,000 more overnight stays in Tartu accommodation establishments in 2020 during this time.

Tartu's Car-Free Avenue. Source: Maanus Kullamaa.

The city government monitored the impact on traffic, and the results showed that during peak hours it took a maximum of 50 seconds longer to cross the distance - from the Botanical Garden to the Quarter Shopping Center - via Narva Road than it would have to use Vabaduse puiestee.

More than 200 events, performances, conversations, meetings, mini-concerts and workshops took place on Car-free Avenue during the month it was open. Activities continued for both children and the elderly.

The aim of Car-free Avenue was to revive the economy affected by the coronavirus and to offer city residents new leisure opportunities and a new area by connecting the Emajõgi river with the city center. It took place on Vabaduse puiestee, which runs along the Emajõgi river and is usually a busy road used by vehicles, for the month of July.

Tartu's Car-Free Avenue. Source: Ahto Sooaru.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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