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Tartu aiming to reduce speed limits and add cycle lanes on Riia tänav

Tartu's Riia tänav.
Tartu's Riia tänav. Source: ERR

According to recent plans drawn up by the City of Tartu, the speed limit on Riia tänav will be lowered, while other changes will enable cyclists to use the entire length of the street.

The width of the central lanes on Riia tänav will be three meters, while the width of the outer lanes will be 3.25 meters. Both lanes will be for the use of cars and public transport, while there will also be additional cycle lanes.

"On Riia tänav, cycle lanes will be added on both sides of the road, and that is the main change. The number of through lanes will remain exactly the same as it has been until now and all the other changes will be minor. What will also change is the speed limit, which will be 30 km/h on the section directly in the city center up to Kalevi tänav and 40 km/h from there to the ring road," said Tartu Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm.

In addition, the Riia-Turu intersection will also be redesigned. Currently, pedestrians crossing the road from the Tasku shopping mall are required to take a detour, which involves making three separate crossings. In future, however, this should become easier, with the possibility to cross the road directly from Tasku.

Precisely which Riia - Turu junction will be open to all traffic is still to be determined, according to Tamm.

"We also need to analyze the thoroughfare of the intersections. To that end, we will have to wait for further analysis and then we will have final clarity on what form the conceptual solution finally takes," said Tamm.

According to Tartu city architect Jiri Tintera, no firm decisions have been made yet. The first step involves securing funding from the Ministry of Climate's selection committee. Only then will it be possible to put a concrete plan in place.

"In fact, the real decisions are still to come. In order to complete the design of this street, we also need a specific study. We need to understand what will happen, to car traffic for instance, if a solution like this is implemented, or if there is some other solution, and these are all still to come," said Tintera.

In any case, he said, the main aim is to reduce the number of cars on the road.

"The only way to do that is to offer people some kind of alternative. That is why we would like to make public transport on Riia tänav more efficient and create the possibility to cycle along Riia tänav on the cycle path," said Tintera.

According to Tamm, the first decisions from the Ministry of Climate are expected to be known by early March at the latest.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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