04.11.2019

Survey: citizens want the nation's capital to be more walkable and cyclist-friendly and have more green areas

The citizens find that the future Tallinn should have more green areas and neighbourhoods that support everyday activities, and want the city to be environmentally sustainable, walkable, and cyclist-friendly.

These are the initial results of a survey with 2,000 respondents. The survey by the Strategy Unit for Tallinn will be open for participation until 17 November. Its results will be taken into account in developing the strategy for Tallinn 2021+.

The survey revealed that good urban space must be accessible and safe with less noise and pollution, and feature more vegetation and walkable parks, streets and yards.  The people want to see less cars in the city. Nearly half of the respondents hope that by 2035 Tallinn will be a green city with an abundant natural environment and sustainable solutions. Another popular view was the Tallinn should be a city with enjoyable neighbourhoods that are accessible for everyone. The vision of a digital and learning Tallinn was also topical and respondents pointed out that there is no conflict between these different perspectives.

“The citizens want to live in a green and environmentally sustainable capital. Also, they prioritise human-friendly urban space where everyone finds something they want to do - and this is in line with the idea of a green city,” said Toomas Haidak, Head of the Strategy Unit for Tallinn. “In invite everyone who hasn’t yet done so to take the survey and insofar as possible complete this short form in its entirety because only together we can make Tallinn the best place to be,” added Haidak.

Interim results of the survey showed that people have conflicting ideas and that devising the strategy is a compromise aimed at developing a solution that is optimal for everyone. One of the main topics was car traffic versus other modes of transport - however, the controversy between these different views is not insurmountable. If more people use a bicycle or public transport, there will be more space for cars.

One of the respondents provided arguments for making Tallinn more walkable: “I truly hope that the practice of planning urban traffic would not be focused on the needs of drivers alone.  We need more and wider sidewalks, dedicated cycling tracks, and urban space where people can walk around and simply enjoy themselves. All places need not be readily accessible by car. Tallinn is not so big that you would need a car to get anywhere. However, if pedestrian and cycling tracks are not constructed, motorways alone are developed and the improvement of public transport is neglected, citizens have no other choice than to get around by car. This in turn means less healthy lifestyles, sicker people, more noise and pollution, and parking lots built instead of green areas.”

In contrast, another citizen wanted better conditions for drivers: “A city with enough room for driving and parking (and free of charge as the city has been developed and is kept in proper condition using taxpayers’ money, and discriminating between people based on their income should not be allowed, i.e. forcing those with low income to stop using their cars). The city should not allow the construction of any new buildings in densely populated suburbs until the traffic and parking problems have been solved as any new structures would make the available space even more scarce and cause additional traffic load.”

Some suggested changing the speed limits. Half of the respondents were in favour of lowering the speed limit whereas the other half supported either raising the limit or keeping the current one.

Tallinn and its citizens are planning the city’s development beyond 2021. The city’s current strategy up to 2030 will be reviewed as part of drafting the new development plan with a view to identifying new potential spheres of development and setting the city’s development goals both in short and long term. The idea behind the involvement of stakeholder groups and the general public is to raise awareness of the city’s development and its priorities and ambitions, and invite everyone to participate in identifying and setting common objectives.

For more information on drafting the Development Plan and on the survey please visit

www.tallinn.ee/eng/strategy.

or our Facebook page at

www.facebook.com/groups/302616023873654/.

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