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Tallinn announces plans for Liivalaia, Pelguranna tram lines

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Render of a future tram running along Tallinn's Liivalaia tänav.
Render of a future tram running along Tallinn's Liivalaia tänav. Source: Tallinn Strategic Management Office

The City of Tallinn on Thursday announced plans for two new tramways in the Estonian capital: along Liivalaia tänav in the city center and out to Stroomi Beach in Põhja-Tallinn's Pelguranna neighborhood.

Tallinn city government submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Climate this week seeking EU funding for the expansion of the city's tram network, which includes three new kilometers of tracks, according to a press release.

The planned new Liivalaia and Pelguranna trams are estimated to have a daily ridership of up to 45,000 people per day, some 13,000 of whom could be new public transport users.

The tramway planned for Liivalaia tänav will expand the tramway network at the heart of Tallinn, boosting its reliability in case of disruptions and allowing for future tram line additions and network expansions.

The first phase will involve building a new connection between the existing tramways of Pärnu maantee and Tartu maantee; in the second phase, the tramway is slated to be extended along Suur-Ameerika tänav out to Kristiine Shopping Center, where there are plans for the gradual development of a public transport hub at Lilleküla.

Map of the planned and proposed Liivalaia tram route in Tallinn. Source: Tallinn Strategic Management Office

The Pelguranna tramway will play a crucial role in resolving mobility and accessibility issues in Põhja-Tallinn, a district of the capital undergoing rapid development with an increase in both housing and jobs.

It will also help connect the western and eastern halves of the district as well as improve accessibility to district schools as well as key areas, including Baltic Station (Balti jaam) and the Telliskivi, Krulli and Paavli areas, the district government and Stroomi Beach.

The planned new tramway will run in part along the edge of the Pollinator Highway (Putukaväil), however the exact route for the northern end of the new line is still in the process of being finalized.

Map of the planned and proposed Pelguranna tram route in Tallinn. Source: Tallinn Strategic Management Office

The choice of the next tramways to be built in the Estonian capital was based on "Feasibility and cost-benefit analysis of light rail transport in Tallinn and Harju County," a study commissioned by the City of Tallinn and completed in 2019, "Street space study for tram lines," a study drawn up by Liikuvusagentuur and T-Model in 2022, as well as traffic modeling results.

Commenting on the newly announced plans, Tallinn Deputy Mayor for Urban Planning Madle Lippus (SDE) emphasized that in addition to enhancing mobility, the goal is also to improve the quality of the city's urban space.

"The Liivalaia tänav tramway will create a new and long-awaited continuous public transport corridor that will make services and workplaces there significantly more accessible," Lippus highlighted. "Creating a separate public transport corridor will also free up space for rethinking the street's spatial design. The Pelguranna neighborhood, meanwhile, is Põhja-Tallinn's most populous and compact area, whose mobility issues will be significantly resolved with the introduction of high-capacity trams."

Render of a future tram running along part of the Pollinator Highway (Putukaväil) in Põhja-Tallinn's Pelguranna neighborhood. Source: Tallinn Strategic Management Office

Should the Ministry of Climate include Tallinn's proposals on its European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) investment list, the public engagement and design condition phases of development will be launched this year. These will be followed by a design phase lasting 1.5-2 years.

Residents will be involved at three different stages, according to the city: during the processing of design conditions, upon completion of the preliminary design and upon the finalization of the main project.

Construction of Tallinn's two newest tramways could thus begin in 2026, at an estimated combined cost of €52.8 million, 70 percent of which would be covered by external funding and 30 percent from the capital city's own pocket. The deadline for using external funding project resources is October 2029.

Map of both new planned tram routes together with Tallinn's existing ones. Source: Tallinn Strategic Management Office

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" early Thursday afternoon, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet (Center) said that Liivalaia tänav in its entirety is going to be completely overhauled.

"From what's under the street – district cooling, district heating, storm drainage, electricity, natural gas and so on – all the way through the fact that we're going to be adding a lot of new greenery to the street, improving pedestrians' mobility, building bike lanes, creating parking and stopping spaces for local businesses and calming traffic there," he detailed.

Svet added that the speed limit on Liivalaia tänav will be reduced to 30 or 40 km/h.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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