City planner: Mid-town Tallinn needs to be made safer for cyclists

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Cycle path. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Architect and city planner Raul Kalvo said that improvements to the main roads of Tallinn's Kesklinn district should be prioritized to increase the safety of cyclists.

The recent warm spring weathers have led people to retrieve their bicycles from their basements and the need for a proper cycle path network in Tallinn is growing. The city of Tallinn is planning to invest around €6 million into cycle and pedestrian roads this year, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Saturday.

2021 has brought a bump in the number of cycle rental services with both traditional bicycles and scooters in the mix. Additionally, there are more and more courier service providers traversing the city on bicycles.

Tallinn deputy mayor Andrei Novikov (Center) told ERR that modern cycle paths are essential to the city. "Tallinn is planning to develop new infrastructure - completely new cycle paths - at the Viljandi maantee vicinity, for example. Or a cycle path connecting Kadriorg and Filtri tee or a cycle path between Kalaranna and Reidi tee or any other object. Also, where we are dealing with reconstructions, modern cycle paths are Alpha and Omega," Novikov noted.

One of the authors of the Tallinn Bicycle Strategy 2028, Raul Kalvo, recognizes transport networks and health networks as separate parts of the city's cycle path infrastructure. By only developing health paths, Tallinn would not solve the problem of allowing people safe travel to work, school or store.

"People who cycle, walk or drive a car, sense the cityscape identically from the navigation perspective. The streets that go directly from A to B, where there is a lot of traffic in simple locations, if we do not offer them safety there, we are not doing our job," Kalvo said.

Last week, work began at the intersection of Männiku and Vabaduse puiestee, where a tunnel for light road users will be constructed. It is one part of a longer path connecting Pärnu maantee and Viljandi maantee. The project's total cost comes out to €3.2 million but Raul Kalvo considers the investment disproportionate.

He said the funds could be used for the Kesklinn district instead. "Even making the Kristiine intersection safer. It would increase overall safety significantly more," the city planner noted.

In addition to developing new light paths and cycle paths, the city is also considering new safety measures for Narva maantee, Pärnu maantee and Estonia puiestee.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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