Tallinn weighs use of traffic regulators to rein in city center chaos

Congestion in Tallinn.
Congestion in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While traffic regulators are not a silver bullet, they can be used in certain locations to reduce traffic confusion and congestion, which Tallinn is considering, Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said on the "Terevisioon" morning show on Monday.

Chaotic city center traffic in Tallinn, caused by several major roadworks and construction projects going ahead simultaneously, can be helped with the use of traffic regulators on key intersections," Svet said.

The city used regulators on May 9 when Filtri tee and Odra tänav were also closed and is now considering stationing them on intersections.

"We can hire regulators from private companies, instead of relying on the municipal police, and place them at intersections where it could help markedly improve the situation. Let us be frank – traffic regulators are not a silver bullet solution, while they can help improve the situation in some places," the deputy mayor said.

Svet said that congestion needs to be prevented before it happens, and the city still needs to decide whether traffic lights will also remain operational or whether the regulators will take over in full.

He added that the city will wait until a part of Liivalaia tänav is also closed off Monday evening and monitor the situation then before deciding.

Svet said that referring to the Liivalaia tänav works as a closure is an exaggeration and two lanes must be kept open in both directions.

"The other important thing is that we have managed to agree on the work being completed by late August, instead of the original deadline of October. We will retain pedestrian crossings, public transport," Svet said.

The work will cause a part of Lastekodu tänav to be closed, while a section between Liivalaia tänav and the Central Market will be made one-way.

Temporary throughput standards to be introduced

Vladimir Svet said that the city is carrying out supervision of roadworks "here and there," while there is no universal standard for construction companies in terms of how much access they need to leave pedestrians and cyclists.

"Some contractors create proper two-meter bypasses, complete with fences and rubber mats for pedestrian safety, while others believe that some gravel is enough. I want to say that it is not enough, and we will outline standards this summer for how this temporary traffic organization should work for cyclists and pedestrians. Until then, we will move on a case by case basis," he said.

Traffic supervision is the task of the city's municipal police force MUPO.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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