Mayor of Tallinn: Half of space can't be taken away from cars

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Bicycle lane. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Even though the Tallinn city government is planning to create a center city bicycle lane network, radical decisions can't be made immediately and half the space from cars can't be taken away either, Mayor of Tallinn, Mihhail Kõlvart (Center), said Tuesday.

"We definitely can't make radical decisions or take away half the space and give it to cyclists. Tallinn is like a bow tie in shape, which most narrow area is in the center city. We also need to take into account that 30 percent of the traffic comes from outside of Tallinn. The shape of the city means that the traffic load is extremely heavy on the center city," Kõlvart told the regional newspaper Pealinn.

At the same time, Kõlvart admitted that the number of cyclists increases a lot in Tallinn and that's why it's not right to think that nobody is riding with bicycles because we have bad weather on most days.

"We are planning to create a bicycle lane network to the center city. In the future, every big road construction will bring along a well-thought-out solution where there's a place for public transport, cars and cyclists.

Initially, we want to build so-called optimal quick solutions in the city, which use different ways for cyclists to create their own space for commuting. Currently, cyclists drive next to cars, which is dangerous for cyclists, or next to pedestrians, which is dangerous for the latter. Electric scooters are particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

Regarding the quick solutions, Kõlvart said that the system is quite complicated. "My colleagues and I sat for hours on end and looked at all the streets where a quick solution should come. In some places, we take up a bit of the driveway, another of the sidewalk. In some places, something needs to be done with the posts, traffic lights or bus stops so that everyone can commute comfortably."

Kõlvart said that efforts have been made throughout the year to find optimal solutions for each road section that do not impede normal commuting. The main work is planned to be done in June.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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