Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said the city is planning on creating 16 km of extra cycle paths for the summer months in order to connect the mid-town cycle network.
"We have analyzed the available cycle paths in mid-town thoroughly to find solutions through the locations that currently impede on uninterrupted cycle paths. The current initiative will not solve all bottlenecks in mid-town, but more exhaustive and expensive infrastructure will be created for cyclists," Kõlvart said.
Cyclists are given more freedom of movement in the city center. 3.8 km of new cycle path sections will be created in the city center, including 1.6 km of paths on Narva maantee and Petrooleumi tänav. 700 m of paths will be created on Mere puiestee, 550 m on Pärnu maantee and 950 m on Gonsiori tänav and Estonia puiestee.
The city is planning to reconstruct close to 5 km in existing cycle paths.
In some sections, bicycles will be given more space at the expense of vehicle lanes and therefore, cyclists will be given more than 1 km of paths on regular traffic lanes. Cyclists will gain another 2.7 km of paths by dividing sidewalk walkway space. In addition, a traffic organization change will be conducted to better mark the Väike-Ameerika and Hariduse streets.
Deputy mayor Andrei Novikov called the initiative "space redistribution with simpler solutions", as more large-scale design and construction works are still to come.
"This summer, we will reorganize the mid-town city space with simpler solutions. We will mark and separate bicycle corridors on roads with bollards, we will widen the movement space for bicycles, will lower sidewalks on streets and mark roads better - in some cases, this will also mean reducing the number or width of road lanes," Novikov explained.
"But every time we take on a reconstruction of a street, we will design separate cycle paths. That is how we can continually turn these temporary solutions to more permanent ones.
The new paths are scheduled to be ready during June and they will cost the city some €1.5-2 million.
The city government's announcement could be considered a response to the wide-scale criticism the city has received in not fulfilling it's bicycle strategy. Among many voices, the strategy's planners have stated the city has based implementing the strategy on its preferences and has neglected the city center, where the cycle path network should have started, for example.
Completely new cycle paths will be developed on Poska tänav. Additionally, the second phase of the light road to connect Filtri tee with Kadriorg and Ülemiste terminal, the first phase of the light road on Viljandi maantee, will be completed.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste