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Tallinn mulls reducing parking spaces, raising parking fees

Traffic.
Traffic. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tallinn is considering raising parking fees and abolishing resident discounts as it seeks to reduce the number of vehicles in the capital city. The idea will be discussed on Thursday.

Almost 50,000 people travel to work in Tallinn every day and thousands more commute from nearby suburbs.

Tomorrow, the Tallinn City Council will discuss its sustainable mobility plan and how to encourage people to use public transport. One way is hiking parking prices.

"Obviously, the situation is that the number of parking spaces will have to be gradually reduced. We have already done this to some extent, with each successive street project actually reducing the proportion of parking spaces," explained Deputy Mayor Madle Lippus (SDE).

She said parking spaces take up a lot of space which can be better used for urban landscaping and to make life more comfortable for pedestrians.

As some people will not be able to give up their vehicles, there are plans to create parking garages in so-called active movement zones.

"It is quite obvious that Kesklinn will be in there, probably also parts of Kalamaja, Põhja-Tallinn, the area around the Baltic station is very well connected by public transport. It is essentially already the center of the city. Probably the direction that goes towards the Hippodrome. Probably the direction that goes towards the Hippodrome. But for now, we're not even going through that analysis," Lippus listed.

When planning parking restrictions, the availability of public transport is taken into consideration. Tallinn wants to merge the capital's public transport system and Harju County's into a single route and ticket system.

The mobility plan will also review parking prices, although the work is just beginning. It is likely residents' parking discounts will disappear.

Isamaa council members do not agree with all the plans.

"This single public transport network makes a lot of sense, but it has been talked about for over a decade. We would like to see real action. What doesn't make sense now is that homeowners in the inner city area who have a parking discount there today will have to pay more," said Isamaa's Tallinn Council faction leader Karl Sander Kase.

He said statistics show the use of public transport has fallen. While 140 million trips were made a few years ago, last year it was 96 million. Kase believes there are no new ideas in the mobility plan that will make people give up cars.

Tallinners are also skeptical.

"Leave those cars alone, no one goes on public transport. I don't like that there are so few parking spaces, it's really expensive," said Aleksei from Lasnamäe. He added that nobody will give up their cars in winter.

"You know, anyone who needs to park is going to park anyway, I think, regardless of the price," said Siiri, a resident of Nõmme.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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