Parties plan to move forward with Tallinn Main Street renovation project

Opposition parties have said they will move forward with a mothballed plan to renovate Tallinn's busiest streets if they are elected. The Center Party still believes the plan is not feasable.

The Main Street (peatänav) project would revamp Pärnu mantee and Narva mantee, limiting the number of cars that can use the roads. It was suspended in 2018 and Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) has called the plans unrealistic.

The plan is popular with opposition parties who believe Tallinn's streets should be made safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

All parties, except EKRE, have said they will reinstate the plan if they are elected at the local elections later this month.

Social Democratic Party (SDE) mayoral candidate Raimond Kaljulaid has previously said the party plans to proceed immediately with the project. However, this ambition has now been scaled back to putting the project back on the table within the first 100 days.

He believes there is no political will to change the way things are.

"It is not seen as politically beneficial in local elections and has, therefore, been discarded. The excuses given are absolutely not credible," Kaljulaid said.

"The people who have worked on the main street project are very good professionals and have a much better knowledge of urban space issues than the current deputy mayors," he added.

Kristen Michal, Reform's mayoral candidate, said continuing the Main Street project is part of the party's election manifesto.

Isamaa mayoral candidate Urmas Reinsalu said the project must be completed within the next four years. 

The city council has said the plans have not been written off completely but it is not known when they will be completed.

Martin Helme, EKRE's mayoral candidate, said the current plan is underdeveloped.

"To close one of the main traffic corridors in Tallinn without figuring out or proposing an alternative traffic channel, we certainly can't do that," he said.

However, he said if plans can be made to make the center more pedestrian-friendly and to divert traffic then they should be considered.

Pärnu (top) and Narva Highway in renderings of the Tallinn Main Street project. Source: ERR

Begun in 2016, Tallinn's Main Street project, which among other things included the renovation of Tammsaare Park and the surrounding areas, was suspended three years ago.

New safety islands, wider sidewalks, and bikeways along Narva and Pärnu Highway were set to be introduced narrowing the streets and reducing both streets' capacity by some 500 cars a day.

The project was suspended after the city carried out a traffic analysis.

In 2019, ERR News reported the project was set to be completed by 2021.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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