Extended tramlines, free kindergarten places and new bicycle networks are being promised to voters by political parties running in the local government elections in mid-October. The issue of Estonian-only education has also been raised.
Education - Estonian education and kindergarten fees
A common theme among party programs is ensuring Estonian education in Tallinn. Some parties want to transition to an Estonian-only study program as soon as possible, others would focus more on language immersion and better language education, leaving others the option of studying in Russian. Almost all parties also promise to lose any kindergarten place fees.
Isamaa promises to transition to Estonian-only education in kindergartens and schools by the 2027/2028 school year. The party is planning to name a deputy mayor responsible for the Estonian language. While the party does not intend to lose kindergarten fees, they want to freeze the current fees for the next four years.
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) wants to gradually change Russian-language educational institutions to Estonian. The party would also see LGBT+ and multicultural themes removed from the syllabus. The party intends to untether kindergarten fees from the national minimum wage and reduce it to parental contribution costs.
The Reform Party promises better Estonian-language education starting from kindergarten and intends to allocate more funding for study materials and teachers' pay raises. The party does not specify anything about Estonian-only education. The party also intends to get rid of kindergarten fees and to support private kindergartens.
The Center Party promises to maintain non-Estonian schools so parents can choose a school based on their family's needs. The party would like to contribute more to teaching Estonian at the schools and to support language studies for non-Estonian children. The party also wants free kindergarten places for children living in Tallinn.
The Social Democratic Party (SDE) wants to get rid of kindergarten fees, teach Estonian at a higher level from kindergarten and develop more language immersion groups. The party wants to increase the wages for teachers' aids to 75 percent of the average pay of teachers.
Eesti 200 wants to transition kindergartens to Estonian-only education starting from 2023 and children born now would have to graduate school in Estonian only. The party thinks the community should have a bigger role in organizing school life and local communities and district governments should take on more responsibility for primary and general education.
The Estonian Greens promise free kindergarten places, to build more kindergartens to ensure enough places, develop language immersion and to integrate hobby education into the school day.
Traffic and public transportation - cycle paths and tramlines
All parties running in Tallinn want to develop Tallinn's traffic environment and improve the public transportation network. The main priority is to develop new tramlines and extend them to different city districts. A focus is also set on developing the cycle path network and implementing the city's cycle strategy.
Reform sees the number of cars in the city as an issue, which they propose can be solved by a "15-minute vision" and the improvement of cycle paths and public transportation. The party plans to construct a tram network covering the entire city, which would connect Õismäe, Mustamäe, Lasnamäe and Pirita to its surrounding local municipalities. Before the tramlines are completed, the party wants to use express buses on Laagna tee.
SDE wants to develop the tram network to Lasnamäe, Haabersti, Mustamäe and to the Port of Tallinn's passenger terminal. They also want a train route between Kopli and Lasnamäe.
The Greens plan to extend tramlines to Järve, Lasnamäe and Pirita in addition to developing new tramlines to Kristiine and Õismäe. The party also supports implementing the cycle strategy.
EKRE, however, wants to build a cable car in Tallinn and to open a sea tram from Kakumäe to the Airplane Harbor and the passenger terminal. The party also supports a car-friendly city space, which would see parking fees decreased and more parking buildings constructed.
Isamaa wants to drop the city's requirements to have parking spaces near new real estate developments and the party supports developing a tram connection between the airport, the passenger port and Kopli. The party supports the cycle strategy and plans to update the public transportation system. Isamaa also wants a connected public transport ticket system between Tallinn and Helsinki, based on the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel idea.
Eesti 200 is also focusing on the principle that everything in Tallinn must be within a 15-minute walk of the city's residents and the city must take bicycles into consideration by allowing them parking spaces near apartment buildings.
Center plans to construct a seaside promenade from Pirita to Põhja-Tallinn and promises to bring metro buses to the city, while making all of Tallinn's public transport electric by 2035. The party plans to move forward with a tramline to the Old Harbor area and also to acquire new trams, while also extending the network of bus routes.
Reform and the Greens promise to reduce traffic. While Reform wants to lower the speed limit in inter-quarter regions and mid-town to 30 km/h, Greens want to do so throughout Tallinn. SDE promises to develop 24-7 public transportation, which the Greens also promise.
Investments and culture - renovating Linnahall and Tallinn Hospital
Center's focus is on investment the Tallinn Hospital project, which aims to develop a mega-hospital in Lasnamäe. SDE also points out a need to develop the mega-hospital, but would look for alternatives for the location. SDE also says they would not sell the plots of the East Tallinn Central Hospital and would instead use the buildings for elderly care and child activities.
Center plans to renovate the Linnahall building with state aid, which is also an SDE promise. Center also supports the construction of a film campus and plans to develop an entertainment park in the city with private sector cooperation.
Reform supports the initiation of studies and spatial plans for the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel and would also like to aid in the renovation of Linnahall and a new opera house.
Isamaa and SDE also support the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel project.
If Greens were in office, the city would look encourage entrepreneurs to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The city would also invest in circular economy.
EKRE's Tallinn program does not point to any major investments but notes the city could take out a loan to invest in infrastructure and to create jobs. EKRE wants to construct module ice rinks in Põhja-Tallinn, Lasnamäe and Mustamäe and also intends to renovate roads. The party is also looking to cancel the green turn strategy.
Isamaa promises to avoid an increase in land tax and wants to initiate a renovation support program for residential buildings while tripling the support schemes for apartment building renovations. The party also wants to give renters options to buy out municipal spaces.
SDE has emphasized the need for a "night mayor" and implementing a nightlife strategy. Reform promises to do the same, while also pointing out that the service sector has been hit hard by the crisis, which is why the sector deserves more attention in the city.
Election day is October 17, preceded by a six-day advance voting period starting on October 11.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste