Car-Free Avenue brings new traffic management and a spirited cultural programme to the City Centre
Tartu City Government Press Release
9 June / At the beginning of July, Car-Free Avenue will bring temporary bicycle lanes to Vabaduse Avenue and Riia Street, create a more attractive street space for pedestrians, and offer plenty of cultural events on weekends.
According to Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas, the aim of the project is to deal with the creation of a safe and high-quality urban space for all of the different groups of road users. ‘Thanks to the popularity of the Smart Bike Share network and new electric means of transport, it is more important than ever to pay greater attention to traffic safety. This year, the Car-Free Avenue project together with the temporary cycling lanes will focus not only on the public space between the Emajõgi River and the Old Town, but also on safe pavements and cycling lanes.
‘At the same time, we are also working on data collection so that future urban space investments are well thought out and data-driven,’ the mayor added.
On 1 July, temporary bicycle lanes separated from cars and pedestrians will be opened on Riia Street (Vaksali Street – Turu Street) and Vabaduse Avenue (department store parking lot – University of Tartu Delta Centre), marked with yellow dividing lines and posts. The bicycle lanes will be placed on both sides of the street, they are one-way, have a width of one lane, and run in the same direction as traffic. You can use the bicycle lane to ride a bicycle, electric scooter, hoverboard or mini moped. The bicycle lanes will remain until autumn.
For pedestrians, the entire pavement will remain available for use on Riia Street. In addition, the river side of Vabaduse Avenue will be transformed into an attractive public space with familiar outdoor furniture from previous years. Additional pedestrian crossings will also be built on Vabaduse Avenue.
Both Riga Street and Vabaduse Avenue will have 1+1 lanes for cars and a speed limit of 30 km/h will be established. Left turn lanes for cars are ensured, but caution should be exercised when making turns and cyclists and pedestrians should be monitored. To ensure that emergency vehicles are able to quickly overtake, cars are asked to keep to the right in their lanes, thereby creating extra space in the middle.
Bus stop pockets that are separated from the roadways will come to Riga Street, with road signs asking cyclists to give way to bus riders. A separate bus lane will be created under Vaksali Bridge to ensure smoother passage of vehicles. Buses passing through Vabaduse Avenue will be directed to a detour via Narva mnt from 1 July through 14 August.
Unlike the Car-Free Avenue of the previous two years, this year car traffic passing through Vabaduse Avenue will be preserved. The exception is weekends from 1 July through 14 August (Fri 18.00 – Sun 23.59), when the section of Vabaduse Avenue will be closed to vehicles due to events.
In cooperation with the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 and the Tiigi Society House, concerts, dance nights, a food market and many other events will be taking place on Car-Free Avenue from 1 July through 14 August. Car-Free Avenue, together with bike lanes, will open on 1 July at 19.00 with a cultural programme on Vabaduse Avenue, with performances from Justament and Stefan.
During the Car-Free Avenue project, various data (changes in modes of movement, traffic load, noise, air pollution, etc.) will be collected and people’s experience assessed in order to create the best permanent solution for segregated cycling traffic in the future. In the course of the undertaking, changes will be made on an ongoing basis, if necessary, to ensure convenient and safe driving conditions for everyone.
Additional information: www.tartu.ee/autovabadus
Additional information: Tõnis Arjus, Head of the Spatial Design Department, tel: 5304-6148.
Last changed 09.06.2022