Experts believe Tallinn's pedestrian crosswalks favor cars

. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tallinn's public space is excessively biased towards cars and many crosswalks do not favor pedestrians, experts believe. However, there are no regulations laying out exactly how the capital's traffic should be organized.

With this summer's renovation of the underpass by Tallinn's Balti jaam station, pedestrians were forced to use the crossing above. But the traffic light cycle is so short that crossing the highway is difficult, "Aktualane kaamera" reported.

Andres Urm, head of Tallinn Transport Administration's traffic department, said workers were looking for a sensor fault.

But this is not the only crossing or intersection in Tallinn facing this problem.

Urmi said, for example, the intersection at Kristiine is a place where, inevitably, vehicles must be given priority due to the heavy traffic flow.

Intersection of Tartu mnt and Liivalaia, prior to the current roadworks. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

However, Professor Dago Antov, head of TalTech's Research Center of Logistics and Transportation, said public transport could be given priority in these areas.

"In Estonia, unfortunately, there is no such norm or document or regulation on how traffic lights should work at all, and everything is based on current practice," said Antov.

He said pedestrians can also be confused by traffic lights as sometimes they do not seem to respond when pressed.

Ave Habakuk, co-founder of the NGO Elav Tänav, said it is noticeable in the capital that cars are given priority.

"It's as if the main thing that we measure, that we look at, is whether cars have sufficient space. And because of that, often unfortunately, pedestrians are abandoned," she said.

A narowed crossing in Kalamaja. Source: ERR

Habakuk suggested that crosswalks could be narrowed with bollards (see above) so that pedestrians have a shorter distance to walk, similar to those in Kalamaja.

Each district's specificities should also be taken into consideration when planning traffic light cycles.

"We do have areas where there are more elderly people on the move, around schools we have more children on the move. And therefore crosswalks and traffic lights should take into account those who use the road in that area," said Habakuk.

But Tallinn Transport Administration does not see a problem.

"We programmed the traffic lights so that pedestrians should be able to cross the road under normal conditions. These are all calculated according to the length of the crossing," Andres Urm told AK.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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